The Rwandan Genocide - 1994

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by Jenny_Dabber, Jan 5, 2007.

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  1. I'm not one to be big on history until something grabs my attention. To be honest it all started a few weeks ago after watching 'Hotel Rwanda' then following with a film called 'When April comes'.

    Being that I was not there and that I was in School, I can remember snit bits of this over the news, Hutu's were trying to wipe out the Tutsi's, by doing so they were targeting adults, then Hutu's who worked along side Tutsis, those who were married to Tutsi's and those that the Hutu's thought would cross sides, after this they targeted the children to clean out the blood line.

    From what I gather the United states, France and Belguim refused to help in the early days. Knowing what we do now, do you think they would have acted sooner, seeing that 800,00 or so were estimated to be killed.

    But then again, if it wasn't for the 'voice' over the Radio generating hatred towards overs and giving out actions, would it have grown to that size? Being that the DJ hadn't killed or abused by hand, what he did by voice, would you rate it as just as bad?

    I know the UN are there as a basic 'keeping the peace' and they held a 'no fire' rule, have the UN gained any further knowledge as to how they should react if something of this extent was to present it's self again?

    Are we (UK), able to supply a peace force large enough to act upon something this size or would we still need the help of the US or other UN countries?

    This is not meant as an argument, just thought it would make a good floor :wink:
  2. I think for something that size Britain wouldn't be capable nor would they have the inclination to go it alone.
  3. Depends on the size of the armed forces , all three of them, after Blair has finished down sizing !

    But I also feel that the UN ,does not have suuficent powers to make any real change with the forces/countrys that are serving under the blue helmet and the country it is trying to assist- to get them to obey the UN guideline or law they have layed down.
  4. I haven't seen the film but I do know that there were regrets within the MOD that no action was taken by other countries, including the UK, to stop what was happening. Certainly when I was at Advanced Command And Staff Course some years later the Rwandan situation was discussed and there was general agreement that either independent or coalition action should have been taken. Independent action without a UN mandate is difficult but so often the UN shows itself to be a toothless tiger. I may be displaying some naivety here but sometimes a situation is so bad that action in the name of humanity must be taken. We went to the Balkans to try and stop ethnic cleansing there without any adverse comment so why not Rwanda and why not Darfur?
  5. If there was some kind of warning before hand, given enough time for the UN to actualy discuss this, would that have made a change? Were the UN worried about how and what the rebels could and would have done to them if they did?

    Not pointing a finger at any one, I know the basic actions that were put into place.
  6. The UN as an organisation Jenny do not have an armed force of their own, they rely on member states to supply boots on the ground. If the member states are reluctant to supply the manpower the slaughter commences unopposed sadly.

  7. Correct me if I am wrong but wasn't it the Belguims who est the 2 tribes originally?

    I know now that they have homed a vast amount of people who escaped the genocide. Where they reluctant to comply orignally due to them founding this? Or a I speaking complete bull?

    Forgive me for asking so much, just trying to get a wider view.
  8. If you want to know the history of Rwanda then this link will help:

    The Americans were not interest as they had recently experienced the "Black Hawk Down" incident in nearby Somali so were in no mood to "do good" again in Africa. France was only interest in its continuing arms sales to the government of Rwanda. Belgium took the view that they had only been looking after a former German colony and so didn't really have a responsibility and certainly did not have the manpower without help from the Americans or French.

    Britain's view was that they were already overcommitted (as usual) didn't not have a historical link with Rwanda and felt that the Africans under the aegis of the Organisation for African Unity (the AU as it is now) should intervene.

    The bottom line was that everyone thought it was someone else's problem, had nothing to gain economically or politically and were very conscious of reactions at home if it went wrong. It is what happens when people take the view that one of our soldiers dead is not worth the lives of thousands of dead africans or arabs or anyone other than ourselves I guess.
  9. For all the Christian nations talk about morality - we violated one of the most essential principles of the UN itself, which was philosophically grounded upon the Christian natural law ideas of Grotius. In international law all member states have an absolute and binding obligation to take action to prevent genocide. It is engaged through a mechanism known as the Obligatio erga omnes [obligation towards all] for which no derogation exists. Members of the UN evade their obligations under this mechanism by routinely refusing to designate genocidal actions as genocide. That is how the Rwandan genocide was able to arise and why the Darfur genocide is being allowed to happen at the moment. It is a real tragedy that the moralists of the World cannot stop bashing minorities and divert their energies and resources to start holding their governments to account for failures to act in areas such as this. But that would be expecting far too much. :x
  10. I suggest you read "Shake hands with the devil" by Lt Gen Romeo Dallairre. He was i/c blue berets in Rwanda.
    No-one in the west cared & the UN refused to do anything, despite the warnings/evidence.
    (Kofi Annan, or was it Boutros-Bouros Gali, was civvie head of peacekeeping & should have carried all the blame: but no, they made him UN Secretary General)
  11. It's all very well blaming everybody for this but at what stage do you stick your nose in? Remember the Star Trek 'Prime Directive' - don't interfer in another's developement!

    Put it another way - your neighbour comes home with a sad on, doesn't say anything to you but goes inside banging the door. Twenty minutes later you hear rised voices as he and the wife have an argument. In the morning all hell is let loose, ambulances, police, news reporters, appears he stabbed her during the night, she is dead, his children are dead, you never heard a thing because you turned the TV up during the aurgument, 'cos they re always doing it!

    SO when and if should you have stuck your nose in? difficult isn't it? During the argument - they may have turned on you, or worse called the police because you assulted one of them 'it's OK Officer I hit him with the sledge hammer because he is bigger than me and I thought he was going to hit his wife'. When it had all gone quiet 'cos it isn't normally quiet over there? Are you breaking and entering, up to no good or just plain nosy? 'He was sneaking into my house when I heard him, so I hit him with the bar, I then found the wife with a knife in her obviously dead, Officer' Now who's to blame?

    Yeah right! Awkward isn't it? And don't say it's different, it's the same only on a smaller scale....
  12. So forget the war side, do you think that others should have atleast stepped in earlier to stop the slaughtering?
  13. Its a difficult call comrade. Having experienced a bit of this kind of thing from the perspective of a non UN faction type, its very difficult to say organisations should step in stop genocide or random acts of chopping. Things spark very easily and when warlords (with only nominal control over their troops and even less control from their govt or whatever), get started things get out of hand quickly. The situation is usually to explosive for peacekeepers to deal with. A few pick up trucks of militia can cause a lot of carnage against unarmed civvies in fairly farking short order.

    In order to do this you need to get hold of the situation early enough for it not to have got out of hand. With unpleasant civil conflagrations there is very little moral high ground. What would be better would be to send in troops, probably in the case of rwanda these would be Pan African Org forces, and demobilise one side totally, then the peacekeepers there could concentrate on maintaining a culture/society, without having to go round firefighting all the time.

    Of course, this is easier said than done (look at the bollocks being dropped in Somalia at the minute).
  14. Thank you Sweeney, good input there. I'm not big on current affairs type issues and to get a better understanding I tend to ask 'why' to most things. Be it the child in me at times but I think to understand your own culture, you must understand other cultures.

    Any how, what do you think about the below?

  16. I think the DJ was put on trial for something along the lines of this, also his brother was a high ranking officer in the Hutu army.
  17. Dear Jenny,

    A book which I can recommend on Rwanda is Philip Gourevitch's We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda. Its very good on the origins of the conflict and the part played by the colonial experience as well as the actual events.

    Re interventions in general - phew - seems to me we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. What stability we have in Europe was fought for over centuries and since I started studying history I've never understood why we think that short-term artificial external intervention is a solution. We all know that trade is the usual motivator in these issues these days which probably explains why transitory solutions are favoured by here-today-gone-tomorrow politicians. There's the bleeding heart element too due to the emotive power of words and images of suffering, the power of the media. Many people now talk about the advisability of stopping all external intervention, this being the only way for a society to sort out its problems, mind you ending external economic interference would be a good idea too and I can't imagine that happening very soon.
  18. I think the lock the door and walk away approach is really only valid if the outside world has not contributed to the problems. In countries such as Rwanda and many others disparate tribal/ethnic/cultural groupings were brought together to form colonies in the name of empire and later in the name of decolonisation. We have this fixation on the prteervation of existing national boundaries rather than attempting to find the natural divisions that will form stable communities. To a large extent this is based in the now outdated ownership on a nation by a king/queen etc relegating the people to the status of shattels. Now that we do recognise the concept of nationhood as something vested in the people rather than a monarch perhaps we need to consult more with the people about how they actually se theri nation. In my view the concept of maitaining colonial boundaries in a post colonial world is always goinig to hold the potential for disaster, and this is not just a non European problem, we have recently witnessed the death throws of the Serbian Empire, and at the same time seen the peaceful separation of the post Austro Hungarian Empire state of Czechoslovakia. Sovereignty rests with the people and no people have the right of lordship over another people.
  19. Cheers golden_rivet, gonna look that up.

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