Yesterday marks the 15th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. On April 6th, 1994, a small jet carrying Rwandan President Habyalimana and Burundi's new President, Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down by missiles. This sparked the beginning of a genocide by Hutu extremists (many of whom had been ordinary citizens not long before, who attacked their neighbors and friends) of Tutsi leaders and Hutu politicians. It is obvious that the genocide was no accident. Well, no mass killing is an accident; they all have been planned. But all you have to do is listen to the speeches and radio broadcasts to hear the careful planning. If you want more proof, then you can read the newspapers or look at the odd number of machetes and guns imported into Rwanda just before the genocide to be used as killing machines. Suddenly, these weapons were available cheap, for the everyday person. For the everyday killer. Yes, it is true that this silent planning by the Hutus was genius. But that just makes the whole thing scarier. To think that somewhere else in the world, some other government could be planning something similar…it just makes me shudder.
There was a small UN peacekeeping force there, led by General Dallaire. But no matter how awful the reports he sent in asking for more troops, for more help, describing the atrocities…The UN and the US refused to label it as genocide. After April 21, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to abandon Rwanda, pulling out the remaining peacekeepers…leaving only about 200 troops. This left the Hutu free to continue their rampage of killings…helped along by propaganda spewed out by the Rwandan state radio. Many Tutsis took refuge in churches and schools, which only became the locations of some of the worst massacres. For women, often, it was the worst. After watching Hutus killing their husband, children, and neighbors, they would often be raped and left alone…or have certain parts of their bodies cut off. Some militiamen forced Hutus to kill their neighbors…or Tutsis to kill their families.
The most well known story, probably, is of Paul Rusesabagina, who helped hide many Tutsis in his hotel in Kigali…the events of this are described in his book, An Ordinary Man, and the movie Hotel Rwanda. (So I won’t go into it too much.)
The UN Security Council, after international coverage, voted to send 5,000 soldiers, but did not set a timetable therefore did not send them in time. The killings ended after Tutsi rebels, invading from the countries they had gone to for refuge back in 1959, including current Rwandan president Paul Kagame. By this time, July 1994, an estimated 800,00 persons had been killed. Although, in truth, not everything stopped there. The killings, both by the Tutsis and the Hutus continued into the 90s. Now, under leadership of Paul Kagame, the nation is trying to heal, rebuild, find some peace, and law and order. History says they will fail…but our faith and their faith is the only thing that can keep it going.
Do your work,” is what the RTLM told the Hutu. “Kill the cockroaches.” The Hutu were obedient. Too obedient. 800,000 to 1,000,000 Rwandans died during the time period. It seems that the genocide in Rwanda gets so much less attention than say, the Holocaust…and, it was almost more cruel. And a LOT quicker. . Perhaps this is because the countries in the United Nations see the genocide as their fault, and hope to cover it up. Most people use the word decimated wrongly. It means to kill 1 of 10 people, and to most minds, this thought is unimaginable. But this is the word needed to describe Rwanda. Every 10th person was killed within the space of one hundred days. In Kibuye, there were 250,000 Tutsis just before the genocide. Afterwards, only 8,000 were left.
“Never again,” we say. But what about what’s happening in Darfur right now? How are we ignoring these things…has history taught us nothing about what ignoring a genocide can mean? Rwanda is called the land of a thousand hills, and during the genocide those hills were filled with screams and cries. They were covered with the blood and bodies of innocent people. A person got used to things they should never have to get used to: The smells of rotting bodies used as roadblocks by the Hutu. The sight of hundreds of bodies piled on top of each other on the side of the road. Seeing machetes being used as killing machines instead of farming tools. Nobody deserves to have that happen to them. Nobody.
Please, please, watch the following videos. And, if possible, write a letter to your state congressmen asking them to do something in Darfur. Because we just CAN’T let this happen again. www.candlesforrwanda.org
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Okay, how about some happier news, maybe? JOE STAYED UP UNTIL 5 AM ENGLAND TIME LAST NIGHT! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! =] And we got Maureen to come join us in the ning chat! =] Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand…SHE REPLIED TO ME ON TWITTER! I almost fell out of my chair in excitement…but, you know, my bed was right next to my chair, so all I did was hit my knee kind of hard on the edge of my bed!
maureenjohnson: "lunasnargle: you've gotten us addicted. We can't stop talking on the ning!" *looks around knowingly*11 minutes ago from web
Also…today’s Tuesday….so, later today I’ll be posting a video on my collab channel! Go check it out, maybe? WE NEED SUBSCRIBERS!!!! http://www.youtube.com/user/GenerationofAwesome
All right…well, I’ve got to go to school, unfortunately….UNTIL TOMORROW!