Travel Log 7: “Global Responsibility Part 1” by Nicole Muckenhirn. Gold Coast, Queensland

The United Nations created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 as a guideline for fundamental human rights and their protection.  In article 5 it states that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” (The United Nations).  In 1994 the United Nations failed to step in and help prevent the Rwanda Genocides.  They did not act upon the words which they had written in establishing all human’s basic rights.

Shake Hands with the Devil is a war drama which depicts the horrors of the Rwanda genocide.  The movie follows Dallaire who pleaded with the United Nations to send in assistance in order stop the massacres.  He needed resources to fight and he was turned down by the United Nations.  There are many other particularly disturbing facts revealed in it.  For example, the President of the United States claimed to have no knowledge of the events taking place in Rwanda.  The genocides were a clear case where the United Nations should have stepped in.  The Tutsis and the Hutus were killing each other in alarming numbers.  The United Nations did little to prevent it aside from sending in support to extract their own members.  This lack of action allowed for one of the largest organized mass killings to occur.  Over a period of 100 days, 800,000 individuals were killed.


This editorial cartoon depicts movie goers exiting a filming of Hotel Rwanda.  The movie goers contemplate how the world could have stood by and done nothing to help.  Then, showing their great capacity for care, wonder when the next movie about another countries misery will premiere.  The Rwanda Genocide was made profitable for those who felt no impact by the massive amount of death.  This cartoon shows how people will pretend to care, but not about actually doing anything.  When something doesn’t personally affect you, even mass death, it can easily be turned into a form of entertainment.

There is a line in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that stands out to me.  “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution” (The United Nations).  With everything happening in the world today this is especially important.  The Syrian refugee crisis is leaving many people seeking asylum and being denied.  It’s sad that over and over we see this disregard of human life from countries who stand by, offer little to no aid, then deny asylum.

Works Cited:

The United Nations. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 1948. Print.


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