Thursday, January 13, 2005

Leave None to Tell the Story

"God already left Africa."
-- Tears of the Sun
Today I biked eleven miles to the nearest movie theater in the area that was showing Hotel Rwanda, a moving new film about the 1994 Rwandan genocide. I would encourage everyone to go see this movie, a remarkable true story reminiscent of Schindler's List. If while watching you are struck by the authenticity of the emotion, know that the film uses displaced Tutsi refugees as extras and some scenes were shot at the sites where real massacres took place. Through 3/4 of this movie I had goosebumps. Like numerous others in the blogosphere whose reactions I've read, Hotel Rwanda filled me with great sadness and great anger.

Prepare to be outraged at the impotence of the international community and at the indifference of the United States. President Clinton had the following to say in 1998 when visitng Kigali:
"It may seem strange to you here, especially the many of you who lost members of your family, but all over the world there were people like me sitting in offices, day after day after day, who did not fully appreciate the depth and speed with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror.
Unfortunately for the hundreds of thousands of victims in Rwanda, far too many people did not appreciate the scope and magnitude of the disaster. Clinton, however, cannot be placed in that category. Ten years after the fact, Freedom of Information Act requests have shown that the Clinton administration knew that genocide was occuring, and chose to do nothing. Seeking to avoid the entrapment experience of Somalia, the U.S. did the unforgivable, unable to even muster forceful words of denunciation. I don't know if anyone can say with any certainty that Rwanda can ever recover fully; some suggest the country has hardly recovered at all.

The Holocaust. Cambodia. Bosnia. Rwanda. Darfur. Etc, etc, etc. Each time, we say "never again". Despite all the hand-wringing, you can count on it happening again.


Anonymous said...

Excellent post. As much as I hate nation-building, I think bringing democracy to the Third World is the only way to truly say "never again," or at least to say it and mean it.


Kevin said...

I thought the movie was filmed in South Africa on the grounds that filming in Rwanda was deemed too dangerous.