In this cartoon, the illustrator Charlie Nebdo depicts the 1994 Rwandan Genocide as being no more than a mere game for the world. The text is in French and translates to “Tutsi Crush, the Rwandan Genocide finally fits into play on smartphone!” I chose this cartoon because when watching the film “Shake Hands with the Devil” all I could think about was how little human life meant to the United Nations and how we were all disposable and the soldiers, such as General Romeo Dallaire, were mere players in the game. Even the Rwanda president, Paul Kegame, realized this later on, he states “General Dallaire had no control, he was a pawn for the UN.”
Before the start of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide in which over 800,000 people were slaughtered, there were troops from Italy, France, Belgium and Canada. All of whom immediately uprooted and left as soon as “the game” became hard in which they actually had to fight to protect innocent lives. Not only did each player of the United Nations, besides Dallaire and a few of his men, abandon Rwanda in their time of need, but they sent, in total, 250,000 soldiers to retrieve their nations people from that country instead of merely using those troops to fight the Hutus.
One statement that really stuck out to me during this film was “Are all humans human, or are some more than others?” For me a life is a life, everyone deserves their basic human rights to “life, liberty, and security,” yet to the UN only the strong and powerful are worthy of these basic “inalienable” rights. From the very start of the Declaration of Human Rights, one by one you can see how the Rwandan people were not given these rights, and how they were dehumanized by the world. The Preamble states that,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in
barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and
the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of
speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed
as the highest aspiration of the common people.
This statement right here shows how we have not learned from the past, in which “disregard for human rights results in barbarous acts,” such as the Rwandan genocide, and how the world does not see the Rwandan people as “Common people” who deserve the right to “freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear.” Even today we still have yet to learn from our mistakes, and still have yet to view all as equal human beings entitled to these basic rights, as shown through the world’s neglect to the crisis in Syria.
“Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” United Nations. United Nations, n.d. Web. 24 Feb.2017.
Shake Hands with the Devil. Dir. Roger Spottiswoode. Perf. Roy Dupuis, Owen Sejake, James Gallanders. Barna-Alper Productions, 2007.
Hebdo, Charlie. Tutsi Crush. Digital image. How to Write about Rwanda. Olivia Rutazibwa, 18 Apr. 2014. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.