Hotel Rwanda got me started on the subject of the Rwandan genocide all over again. The movie is well made and is a personal story of a man who saved the lives of more than 1200 people (tutsis and moderate hutus) during the genocide. It is very easy to get carried away by the shock value that photos of mounds of dead bodies generate. Infact most news that comes out of Africa today refers to clashes and tells us of the number of people dead with more horrifying pictures. We arent usually exposed to the analysis – historical, ethnic and psychological as to why the clashes occurred. But Hotel Rwanda manages to tell a gripping story of the man(Paul Rusesabeguna) himself and how he managed to keep these people alive.
The book “Season of Blood” by Fergal Keane is another personal story of a journalist with the BBC who ventured into the country immediately after the genocide. The author tells us of a situation in the BBC radio station in Johannesburg where the subject of Central Africa comes up. He makes a statement about the increasing danger of a catastrophe in the region. Another correspondent wondered aloud why they should care about disputes in obscure countries. He answers with the following line.
“We should care because we belong to the same brotherhood of man as the citizens of seemingly remote African countries. It is not a political reason and some may call it naive. That is their prerogative. For me, however, the conclusion is unavoidable: genocidal killing in Africa diminishes all of us”
This is exactly the way I feel about genocide. Toothless international organizations like the UN and the rest of the world (France, US and the rest of the western world) are co-conspirators of this genocide. France, directly since they supported the hutu extremists and supplemented their machetes with guns and ammunition and supplies. If we are only going to wait and watch while these tragedies unfold before us then we are as guilty as the machete wielding Interahamwe (the Hutu extremist army). This is happening again in Sudan. All the UN report says is that it isnt genocide. Like that gives them the moral high ground to not do anything. Does it really matter whether thousands of people being killed amounts to genocide or not for the international community to act? Lets remember the 1million people of Rwanda. Yes, 1 million. They didnt give their lives for nothing.