Travel Log 7 “Global Responsibility” by Christina Mercugliano. Rome, Italy.

The particular political cartoon I choose specifically focuses on the lack of media attention paid to the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. The documentary “Shake Hands with the Devil” chronicles the journey of Roméo Dallaire, the Canadian general who directed the United Nations mission in Rwanda, as he returns to Rwanda after 10 years. He was charged with a mission to keep the peace during a time of civil unrest, but he was not given the resources, troops, or mandates in order to effectively stop the genocide. It is clear from the documentary that one of Dallaire’s greatest frustrations was the abandonment both he and the Rwandan people experience from the rest of the world. He was convinced that with more, with any, media attention, a greater light could have been shed on the situation there and more could have been done.

In the documentary, Dallaire said, “Still, at its heart the Rwandan story is the story of the failure of humanity to heed a call for help from an endangered people.

The international community, of which the UN is only a symbol, failed to move beyond self-interest for the sake of Rwanda. While most nations agreed that something should be done they all had an excuses why they should not be the ones to do it. As a result, the UN was denied the political will and material mean to prevent the tragedy.” He specifically discussed inviting and incentivizing any media agent that would stay, to stay, so that the world could be more aware of what was happening.

Article III of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.” Article XXII further states, “Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality” (United Nations). The right to security for all people, as well as the right to intervention by other nations when that security is insufficient, were both denied to the Rwandan people during that time. Although the cartoon specifically focuses on the media attention that was paid, or not paid, to the situation, it is very much representative of the world’s general reaction to the genocide. People all around the world failed to recognize, or at least acknowledge, the situation, in a very similar manner to what is happening with the Syrian refugee crisis today.

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Political cartoon depicting the Rwandan genocide in 1994

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