Tonight, I had to write about a movie that I watched with my parents just a little bit ago called Beyond the Gates. This movie was about a young, idealistic man, a Catholic missionary priest, and how they were affected by the Rwandan genocide in 1994.
800,000 Rwandans were killed in the span of 4 months. From April to July, 800,000 people were macheted to death.
I have learned about the Rwandan genocide before, in class. I even remember seeing it on the news, but I didn't know what had happened - the sequence of events, why this occurred, why the people were fighting. In my African history class that I took in college, we did learn about all the politics and the scope of what had happened. I have seen and learned about that statistic before. But watching the dramatization of those events cut to the core because I know that it actually happened the way that it was depicted. UN troops could have protected the Tsutis from the Hutus, but because the organization in New York did not give them orders to stop the killing or to even protect those who were being killed, this genocide occurred. Because the Clinton administration refused to use the word genocide because of the political ramifications that that word has, 800,000 people's blood was spilt in one of the most cruel and horrid ways of death that exists. Babies - harmless little babies - were smashed against trees or were hacked to death.
And we did nothing. Absolutely nothing.
In fact, the UN - the United Nations - PULLED OUT the troops that were preventing some of the Tsutis that were taking refuge in a school from being attacked by the Hutus.
As outrageous as the facts are, they occurred. And the thing that angers me most is that things like the Rwandan genocide still occur today, and we do NOTHING!!
Sudan. Democratic Republic of Congo. Ethiopia. Somalia. Burma. Palenstine. Lebanon. Nigeria. Columbia. Uganda.
Tell me, what will happen when the United States pulls our armed forces out of Iraq with the Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds tearing each other apart even while we are in Iraq? Turkey has already invaded Northern Iraq to stop the "Kurdish rebels".
Do people understand what is going on?? Do you understand the politicalness of the words that newspapers use? "Rebels"??? Are they rebels or freedom fighters?? What about the Kosovo Serbs that just declared their independence from Serbia? Are they rebels or freedom fighters??
Genocide v. ethnic conflict?? Tribal conflicts v. genocide?? Semantics that decide people's lives. And it also depends on how valuable those people's lives are to political agendas of different foreign governments.
And that is why I refuse to work in Washington. My parents and others always say that I should work with the government, in the CIA or some other political agency. But I refuse because I refuse to be a part of a system that decides who lives and who dies based on their worth to a foreign policy agenda. And it's not limited to just the United States. This is the way that all governments operate.
It is enough to know why these things occur in the world. And that is why I feel even more hollow tonight after viewing this movie. As the end quote said, "The opposite of faith is not heresy. It is indifference." (Elie Wiesel)