The above cartoon was used to represent how the world reacted to the atrocious genocide in the small African country of Rwanda. Close to 800,000 Tutsis were killed by the Hutu militia, leaving millions more displaced in neighboring countries. During the entire conflict, most of the Western powers kept away, allowing the genocide to continue. It wasn’t until media attention required the super powers to step in and try to maintain peace. By that time, the Tutsi rebels had fought back and almost completely re-captured the country.
The illustrator of the cartoon wanted to show how the foreign super powers kept a distance from the entire situation even though they knew that innocent people were dying. The woman is dying of starvation and dehydration, causing her to shrivel up on the ground like Rwanda was. The country at the time was scarce on resources, causing people who were not murdered to die of disease and famine. As she reaches out for help, the powers brush it off as she is waving to them. To add insult to injury, the nations just wave back, which was the artists way of saying the powers knew what was happening in Rwanda, and they chose to just wave back and refuse to help.
To me, there were two massive violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The first being a violation to Article 1, which says, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in spirit of brotherhood.” (UN Web). While the document says that all people should be treated equal, the genocide clearly showed the world that the super powers viewed the Tutsi people as lesser beings. They idly sat by and watched over half a million people be executed. The world vowed that events like the Holocaust would never happen again, yet years later we have situations in places like Rwanda and Syria, where people are begging for help and foreign nations refuse.
Another violation was made on Article 3, which states, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.” (UN Web). It is easy for a country to help provide another country that needs help. These people had a basic right to live, yet they died because foreign nations couldn’t send food or medicine. What does it say about us that we complain we do not have rights, yet we do not stand up for the people who are not even provided food, water or shelter? The article that may be the most important and most basic idea to follow was simply neglected by so many people.
Ultimately, it was on the Western foreign powers and the United Nations to help protect and save the refugees in Rwanda. They wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and they abandoned it when it did not pertain to them or there was nothing to gain. While it is obvious that genocide is a crime against humanity, there are still countless numbers of innocent people being killed in the Middle East, with little to no intervention from the Western world. Refugees are fleeing at alarming rates, but no one is coming to their aid. How many times do are we going to ignore the people who are facing constant danger, until we finally step in and help?
Rani, Y. (n.d.). Political Cartoon. Retrieved February 22, 2017, from http://yukti-genocide.weebly.com/political-cartoon.html
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (n.d.). Retrieved February 22, 2017, from http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html