No one human is more important than the next. We are all linked together through the common bond of humanity. Slimbach states that, “There is a common ground for the common good. This explains why most moral philosophers agree that people–all people–have a moral claim to basic human needs, to a life compatible with human freedom and dignity” (2010, p.22). Sadly, this simple concept is not so easily understood when looking at past historical events. An example of this oversight of mankind unity can be seen in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. Although tensions amongst opposing groups are typical, if not expected, the extent to which these differences are taken is a different story. The Hutu ethnic population in east-central Africa targeted the Tutsi minority group. Mass killings occurred, with the Tutsi people left close to helpless. Regardless of the urgent and horrifying situation, International Powers, including the United States of America, did not act to save these innocent people’s lives. Instead, these International Powers sat back uninvolved, not wanting to get their hands dirty in this unacceptable genocide. It is beyond unfortunate, as people who wanted to help, such as the man in the video Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire, did exist. The horrific memories and mental images of these mass killings haunted him forever, and he later felt the global responsibility to share the Rwanda story with the rest of the oblivious world.
The human rights editorial cartoon above bests summarizes the events in which took place during the Rwanda Genocide of 1994. The media is one of the most powerful tools of our modern day society. Although this fact is quite saddening, showing the importance we hold in our controlling devices, it is certainly factual. In this cartoon, the public cannot get enough of Hollywood. People feel connected to the stars we see on television, root for in sports, and hear on the radio, such OJ Simpson and Michal Jackson. However, the concern for public human rights violations, specifically concerning Rwanda, is not seen as important to the public. On the other hand, people rather keep up with the Kardashians, than keep up with serious international matters, in which could save thousands of peoples lives. This cartoon is a great depiction of how the media greatly influences our everyday actions and mindset. Perhaps, if the Rwanda Genocide received more media coverage, people would have been more inclined to take action. However, people are not seeing it, are not affected by it, and do not hear much about it, it becomes so easy to ignore the issue all together. Ultimately, it becomes natural to convince oneself that if no one else is doing anything about it, that you do not need to either. Sadly, this means several capable helping hands past by those in need, while looking back to see whom else is willing to help. The question, ‘if no one else is helping, than why should I?’ becomes quite common.
Those who lived through the Rwanda Genocide had several human rights violated including, but not limited to: freedom without distinction, having the right to life-liberty-and security, and that no one should be subjected to torture of any kind (Universal Declaration of Human Rights). The United States of America, as well as other International stable powers, should have been helping to protect these basic human rights for these helpless individuals—just as we would like in return if we were in their shoes. A recent example of violations of these same human rights can be seen in Syria. Because there is mass hysteria regarding recent terrorist attacks throughout the global community, everyone has been mainly concerned with the Syrian refugee crisis, and how to better secure international borders. However, although it is crucial and important to secure the human rights and safety of your nations people, not every Syrian is a terrorist. Due to this over-generalization, many of these innocent Syrians seeking refugee are left alone, without help from those who have the power to do so. Instead, they are subjected to the dangerous and insecure lifestyle they were hoping to leave behind, with International Powers mainly concerned with how to stop the bad and not how to help the innocent.