posts 16 - 26 of 26
Miss Day
Posts: 26

As we as a class has come to understand the course of events that lead to what frontline defined as a US foreign policy success that was the Rwandan Genocide, I am certain there were definitive points, moments and portions in the weeks and days leading to the beginning of the killings that could have prevented the entire event.

Months before Habyariamana's plane was shot down, Samantha Power emphasized how Romeo Dellaire on January 11th 1994 sent an urgent message to UN headquarters in New Yprk (The first of many) detailing The preparations the Hutu majority government was conducting to create a force capable of killing 1000 Tutsi's in 20 minutes. It is here in January, in this very exchange we see a point at which we can a point a finger to the UN and the US government. Here we can confidently glare at the faces of men and women who chose to do nothing.

It was clear that Dallaire's prominent connection within the Interahamwe militia could have proved to be a valuable asset. The subsequent proposal for an arms raid being denied is another "fix" so to speak. With this knowledge and proposal the UN, understanding the history of ethnic tension between the Hutu majority and Tutsi minority could have immediately stepped up to the plate and cast a spot light on this. Allowing the arms raid, which Dellaire clearly had every intention on conducting before getting a call from HQ to stay neutral, would have certainly crippled if not ended the potential for widespread conflict. Although simply hypothetical, with the affirmation of UN and global involvement in the protection of the Tutsi, the Interahamwe may have backed down considerably, especially without having the firepower to conduct the killings as rapidly as they had planned. What I mean by this is that Power as well as Frontline spent a significant portion of their pieces discussing the Interahamwe's plan to scare UN troops out of the country in order to more freely operate. The fact that they put so much effort into ensuring this points directly to the fact that the UN troops, if used properly, would have created an incredibly effective defense force and would have been able to stop the fighting even before it had begun. It is possible that the gun raid could have provoked more killings and brutality as had been the result of Somalia, but the fear of creating "another Somalia" is, in itself a sentiment that should have quickly been disregarded. The situations were completely opposite, not to mention that Dallaire had hundreds more, and having a full force of 2000 would have ensured this.

Additionally UN troops could have established radio Jammers to block out the genocidal broadcasts of Radio Mille Collines. Although I doubt they would have been able to reasonably justify (assuming that the US government would actually comply instead of putting Rwandan fopo on ice) the usage of signal jammers until conflict had begun, but a simple acknowledgement of the sentiments carried in the months preceding the genocide could have focused UN attention on Rwanda more in some way. The broadcasts could have been used at analyzing the propaganda used in order to counter it in some way. During the conflict, jamming radio signals would have helped immensely and most likely saved the lives of thousands. Radio became the primary form of communication in Rwanda for the Interahamwe as well as the general Hutu perpetrators to identify specific targets, hiding locations for the Tutsi leaked from frightened or hateful perpetrators. It could have helped prevent the spread of hateful and fear-inducing sentiments carried by Colonel Bagosora, relieving the social pressure that perpetrators often claimed to be the reasoning behind their participation in the genocide. It is not difficult to disable a radio frequency. It does not take the aid of the United states to pull a plug or to jam a signal. Instead it became yet another example of the metal gymnastics used by the UN and global community to avoid taking any initiative or responsibility.

The New York directive to evacuate solely foreign nationals was one of utter nonsense. Yes it takes resources to host and transport individuals on air lifts. But based on the video provided, standard passenger flyers seemed to be used as well. The amount of foreign nationals present within Rwanda could easily have a been small enough for their to have been plenty of room to accommodate more refugees. This coupled with the call for withdrawal after killing of Belgian UN soldiers is one of the most frustrating aspects of the Rwandan Genocide. We see in frontline the testimony of UNAMIR officers stating the same line over and over "we had no choice" The UN's job is to prevent human rights violations as well as to provide an platform in which peaceful negotiations between nations and peoples may occur. The reality was, those soldiers did have a choice. They had no obligation other than an order to step onto a car, leaving a once safe haven for refugees to become a killing field and a place of desperate cries. Those well armed and fed soldiers from Europe and the US that came to assist with the evacuations, that Warren Christopher and Bill Clinton praised , could have easily taken a refugee and placed them on a plane. They could have stayed. They could have done what they had trained their lives to do. Instead by leaving they simply became accomplices to genocide.

Based on Power's account, as of April 30th, Dellaire formally informed and warned the UN of the reality that what was happening in Rwanda was in fact, a genocide. At the very least governments, especially the US could have admitted it. The fear of 'needing to do something about it' that the United States State Department held, as well as a majority of the Clinton administration felt, if not morally and ethically appalling, the most cowardly thing I have ever heard of. At least acknowledge the fact that you won't be doing anything about it instead of actively trying to suppress information. Making the information public, recognizing for what it is, this is the foundations of the allowing the global population to step in and assist either through moral and ethnic disapproval or deliberate action in the form of assisting aid groups.

I think it is hard morally to justify open firing onto a crowd of individuals wielding machetes, but taking such hostile action was not necessary to end this conflict. The UN soldiers needed only place themselves in the crossfire, in the path of destruction to halt it. We already saw that it worked as well. The UN soldiers, although instructed strictly to not actively engage in combat, were able to protect individuals just by being in the vicinity and keeping watch at the technical school. Assuming that the ban was lifted on the UN soldiers, a series of carefully planned operations, escorts, etc. could have easily ensured the safety of thousands. UNAMIR could have assisted the RPF. In regards to the machetes in use by the Hutu, as a classmate elegantly put it, a machete cannot win against a gun. Once again the UNAMIR troops did not even have to fire a single bullet (unless directly attacked). All they had to do was act as an intimidating force. It's not as if the troops could have tracked down every location of a machete, but providing a barrier against the Hutus for Tutsi protection would have certainly deterred many that would have gone to kill others.

I doubt the US itself would have actively involved itself in Rwanda other than through the UN by any means. The problem was the global community decided not to. If an individual country is afraid of "having to do something" the UN is literally designed to sort those things out . So many problems could have been avoided, so many lives saved if the UNAMIR and the UN as a whole ignored foreign policy and actually exercised their own power. As we heard in Frontline the US Government used every excuse not to send aid over, or to even recognize the genocide. Why rely on a United states input? You as UN officials have a mission and have a goal. If a country doesn't like it, well tough that's what they signed up for, and you have every other country holding them accountable for it.

Posts: 31

Hi all,

I’m just going to start this by saying WHY HAVEN’T WE LEARNED ABOUT THIS BEFORE THIS CLASS!! This genocide is so fascinating and it really teaches us about the problems with bystanderism. America’s lack of knowledge on things outside of this country is horrible and needs to be changed. Like seriously this is happening right now with the Rohingya but we are all instead caught up with all of Donald Trump’s crap. This is a direct parallel, and it hurts to watch history repeating itself.

Now for the actual post:

  1. Radio Mille Collines
  2. The UN peacekeeping forces led by Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire
  3. The UN peacekeeping forces in New York
  4. The Government’s refusal to call it a genocide
  5. The civilian murderers with machetes

  1. I feel that the easiest solution for this would be to simply have the UN cut off the radio connections. The radio stations were basically a cheat sheet for the interhamwe, and without that , then it would have been a lot harder. The interhamwe may have developed a different method of spreading information, but this at least would have hindered them. While the interahamwe was experiencing difficulty, then the UN could have detained them.
  2. The UN is supposed to be an organization that helps out other countries, not themselves. The fact that it was ordered to protect their own troops, and not the actual people needing help is really disappointing. The peacekeepers would have been just as helpful sitting on their couches watching this tragedy happen from the comfort of their own homes. The UN should have told these soldiers to actually help the Rwandans. I understand that this was a safety concern, but they had guns. They could easily kill someone and protect others. Another thing that the soldiers could have done was jut ignore the orders of the UN. The peacekeepers had the opportunity to help, and their actual purpose is to maintain peace and help solve conflicts. If they actually gotten involved, then they would have been doing their job, and thus they shouln’d technically be punished for disobeying the rules.

  1. The UN peacekeepers were never in any harm. The Hutus wanted the Tutsi, not the soldiers. These soldiers had resources. These soldiers had guns, food, and power. Neither the Hutu nor the Tutsi had these things to the extent that the UN soldiers, did. The UN soldiers had the ability to fight off the Hutu, and they would have been able to fix this problem. The problem here that there was a great sense of apathy among the Americans in control. The assistant secretary of African affairs shows this by saying on page 351, “”I felt very strongly that my first obligation was to the Americans’ [...] what I was told was [...] these people do this from time to time” (power 531). This lack of interest in anything other themselves caused these fatalities. I think that the United Nations peacekeepers should have stayed. These people had stronger resources and could have easily been able to stop the interahamwe. Guns are far more powerful than machetes. I also feel that the people in charge should have actually cared about Rwanda. The U.S. government let this happen, and they could have easily stopped the killings.

  1. America’s main goal as said in the documentary we watched was to not do anything. America simply wanted to be a bystander, and with this they chose to not recognize the events in Rwanda as actually happening. As said in the previous paragraph, The United States government did not care, the senate minority leader even said, “The americans are out ,and as far as i’m concerned, that ought to be the end of it” (Power 332). The United States knew that this was the easy way out, and they took it. Instead of doing what they did, they should have gotten their hands dirty and helped out these poor people. They could have still avoided the convention by not calling it a genocide, but instead of just watching from the sidelines, they could have sent in aid. This may have saved thousands of lives.

  1. For me this is a more complicated what should they have done. One simply cannot get rid of every single country in the country. That would be too easy of an answer. I thought about this for a while. My first solution was to give the Tutsi guns to defend themselves. I then later realized that this would only result in a solution until they ran out of ammo. I also realized that the Tutsi could start relentlessly murdering the Hutus as revenge. I then thought for more time, and I realized that the only real solution would be to let the soldiers stay and protect the Tutsi. This really connects to all of my previous paragraphs, and as said previously over and over again, so many could have been saved if they did this.

I guess the moral of this post is that if the world actually cared about Rwanda and if the peacekeepers were allowed to stay in Rwanda and help the citizens, then tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of lives could have been saved.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to comment!


Posts: 28

The world was yet again silent

It cannot be overstated how much influence the Radio Mille Collines had on the interahamwe and other civilians taking part in the massacres. The radio station broadcasted propaganda urging Hutus to kill their Tutsi neighbors, pinpointing the locations of groups of Tutsis, and claiming that their memory must be erased from this earth (echoes of Nazi propaganda against the Jews and other victims). This one station facilitated the mass killings like a conductor to an orchestra, and allowed for the mobilization and organization of the machete-bearing murderers. The documentary we watched stated that a government official proposed they at least destroy the radio after refusing to take any other action, but the U.S. completely refused to do even that, with a pentagon lawyer even going as far as to say that that’s an infringement on national sovereignty. Samantha Powers in her writing stated that the United States was fully able to make action in one of many ways, to limit the propaganda and the directions of the radio station fueling the genocide. They could have either shut down the radio, destroyed the antennas, or transmit counter broadcasts. Of course, the Pentagon claimed that they were technologically inefficient, and that there were various legal concerns, so they supposedly couldn’t go through with the plan. Now, we can see the effects in hindsight, and really condemn influential nations from not taking a stance against the Rwandan military, but they had enough intel and understanding of the situation to see what was coming. By being in a position to save lives, yet standing by and watching as 800,000 people perish, you become in a way a sponsor of the mass killings, and endorse genocide in every way, shape, and form. Understanding the United State’s foreign policy agenda, and their refusal to call this a genocide knowing that they would have to act against it, it’s not surprising that they wouldn’t destroy the radio, because then it would have been an acknowledgement of the severity and gravity of the issue -- something the administration was trying to avoid. The U.S. not responding wasn’t a failure of foreign policy to the administration, as many like to think, but rather a success. I believe that the least the government could have done is intercept the radio or destroy it at its source, so that the interahamwe could lose some of their organization, but considering the intel the U.S. had, as well as their international sway in the United Nations, they should have done much more as well.

The U.N. “Peacekeepers” shown in the “Triumph of Evil” ushering white Americans and Europeans into jets for evacuation, while leaving crying Rwandan mothers and pleading Rwandan fathers kneeling behind on the ground are the epitome of the failures of the virtue of men. I believe that the higher command in the U.N., along with the stationed troops in Rwanda share the same blame, as both parties had the opportunity to save thousands of lives, yet prioritizing only those of foreigners. The people originally protected by the U.N. couldn’t be touched by the interahamwe, and were only killed after the U.N. troops abandoned them. Leaving a group of mothers, fathers, and children behind fully knowing that they would be killed shortly after your departure is an inerasable mark of evil. It goes without saying that they should have been ordered to protect the innocent Rwandan civilians under General Dallaire, and that they should have been allowed to intercept the flow of machetes and other arms before the climax of the genocide. We know that they were completely in power to do so, and even asked for permission to do so from HQ, but were denied. The U.N. peacekeepers were adequately armed to protect the innocent civilians in their care, and repel the malevolent interahamwe. The United Nations withdrew their troops under the assumption that they were not safe in Rwanda, but objectively speaking, you will die bringing a machete to a gunfight. The trained troops were leagues above the amateur Hutu militiamen, and could have protected upwards of 800,000 people with relative ease. Before they abandoned the people, the civilians begged the U.N. soldiers to shoot them down with machine guns, because this was a much better death than being killed by machetes. This in and of itself is absolutely heart wrenching.

Killing by machete is very distinct from killing with a gun. If you shoot somebody, there is a level of distance and detachment from the person you are killing. Less thought goes into it, and you are generally removed from the experience. To hack somebody down with a machete, however, you must be very close to the victim. You can see the look in their eyes as the machete is brought down upon them. You can see their loved ones looking on with desperation and disturbance as their family member is mutilated right before them. You can feel the blade contact the human body. You can feel the machete sink into the flesh and crush the bones. Every swing you take is a move made with intention. 800,000 people were killed this way in the span of 3 months.

It was absolutely aggravating and disgusting how the United States administration danced around acknowledging the 3-month massacre as a genocide. You simply cannot argue that the signs were unclear, as much of the pattern echoed that of the Holocaust, and member states of the U.N. received warnings from Peacekeepers stationed in Rwanda. To paint a picture, when the United States was finally pressured to call the event a massacre, and when they eventually pledged to lease armored vehicles to the United Nations to help transport Peacekeepers around Rwanda safely, they spent valuable time talking about the terms of the lease, and what color the vehicles would be. While they were having official discussions on what color the armored cars would be, thousands of innocent people were being hacked to death by machetes. Thousands of children were watching their fathers being shot dead, and their mothers being raped by the interahamwe. “The youngest, a child of three years old, pleaded for his life after seeing his brothers and sisters slain. ‘Please don’t kill me,’ he said. ‘I’ll never be Tutsi again.’ But the killers, unblinking, struck him down.” As the world’s leaders were sitting comfortably in their chairs, dancing around the technicalities of the term “genocide”, 800,000 people were being targeted for who they were, and massacred for who they were born as. While they were arguing about whether the armored cars should be blue or green, they failed to see the red blood that stained the Rwandan Soil. As shown in the “Triumph of Evil”, even after they sorted through all the trivial details, the United States transported the vehicles to Uganda, where they stayed for the remainder of the Holocaust. In uncovered secret conversations, officials refused to act thinking that it would result in a loss of votes in the November elections. They literally thought that they should allow hundreds of thousands of people to die so that they may preserve votes, and maintain their status in the following term. This genuinely makes me lose my faith in humanity, and in my own mind, I can’t comprehend how somebody would be able to knowingly allow people to die to preserve something as trivial as status.

The world remained silent as the Rwandan government was given a free hand to do as they pleased, and the cries of the victims echoed throughout the cold world. This is our legacy.

Posts: 28

Starting off with the first element, the Radio Mille Collines and other radio stations that broadcasted the information of Tutsi people so that the Hutu could find and kill them, should have been dealt with instead of pushed to the side by the countries. For example, "the United States did not deploy its technical assets to jam Rwandan hate radio" because of the cost of sending equipment over and the implications of interfering with another country's radio broadcasts (it would essentially be stepping over into their sovereignty) (Power 335). I understand why the United States wouldn't want to interfere on the grounds that it would be overstepping Rwanda's sovereignty which would be a dangerous precedent to set, but at the same time the entire world could understand why anyone would want to disrupt the radio broadcasts of information that was directly causing the murders of Tutsi people. This is an issue where the end justifies the means—no excuses can be made for these broadcasts and so it shouldn’t matter if a country has to interfere to stop the deaths of thousands of people, regardless of the legality of the way to do it. If the entire world can agree that what’s going on is a terrible thing and needs to be addressed, then doing something like radio jamming can be done since everyone agrees to it and since it’s for a morally just cause. The argument about money that I mentioned the United States made earlier is foolish, though. The amount of money the United States spends on the military and other programs is an absurdly high amount. I believe there should have at least been some funds somewhere that the United States could have used to deal with this issue instead of saying it was ‘too expensive.’ If a country isn’t willing to step in and prevent the deaths of thousands upon thousands of people because of the possible economic costs of something like radio jammers, it isn’t about the economic costs anymore—it’s more about the lack of interest in wanting to interfere.

Moving on to the second element, I also understand why the UN soldiers were told to focus on protecting its own soldiers over forcefully protecting Rwandan citizens. If the UN soldiers had forcefully protected the citizens, they could have ended up like the Belgian soldiers that were brutally murdered by Hutu assailants (Power 332). The assailants had done this because they believed the Belgians would be in an uproar and pull out of the country, similar to the United States when their soldiers were killed in Somalia. If this had occurred with the UN soldiers, then there could have been grounds to pull the soldiers out all together. The only way to prevent something like this would have been to send more UN soldiers to back them up so they wouldn’t have to worry about assailants killing soldiers to send a message and try to create discourse as much since they could have had an overwhelmingly superior military force to the Hutu groups, but this had never happened. In fact, the number of UN peacekeeping troops was voted to be lowered to 270 (but 503 remained in the end) on April 21st. Even when Dallaire requested for 5000 troops to supplement his forces he was still met with disagreement. By the time many of the Tutsi victims were dead the United States finally accepted a form of Dallaire’s plans and sent over 50 armoured personnel carriers. However, they were stripped down versions and didn’t arrive for over two months. Even when they did something they did it, in the harshest terms, in such a lackluster manner it would be a shame to even call it doing something.

Moving on to the third element, evacuating only foreign citizens from Rwanda instead of all citizens was a terrible thing, but I understand why it was done. I don’t think there’s a single country in the world that would take in Rwandan refugees if no one was willing to send military aid to the country in the first place. Thinking about the refugee crisis now, I feel as if the reactions to Rwandan refugees would be very similar to what they are now, if not a whole lot worse. As we learned during the Holocaust unit, many Americans had believed the Jewish people deserved what was coming to them and believed that they were fundamentally different to them, amongst other terrible things. I can’t even imagine the reaction people would have to African refugees if they weren’t even willing to accept Jewish ones. Of course the possible treatment of these refugees does not justify not doing anything to move them out of the country, it only explains why these countries were so unwilling to do anything about it.

Regarding the fourth element, the United States actively refusing to call what was happening a genocide so that they wouldn’t have to act is something I’m ashamed of and I can’t believe the country I live in would do such a thing. The idea that people could actively be getting hacked down in the streets and no one does anything because they don’t want to is deeply saddening and very eye opening as to how much people really care about the deep seated issues in Africa. At the same time, though, it’s unsurprising how little effort was put into fighting for the Tutsi people. Referencing the Holocaust once more, even though FDR had knowledge of all the things that were going on in Germany there was still little action to help. From letting in refugees to doing something about the concentration camps, the United States refuses to do a lot in regards to helping them. The surprising thing about this situation with Rwanda is how they didn’t want to call it a genocide. At that point, it becomes clear that governments and populations care more about themselves and those that look like them than those that don’t. If anything could be done that didn’t involve the United States changing its stance (before anything was done to force it to), I think it would have to be more media personnel reporting the genocide to try to get the people to understand what was going on and what their country was doing (nothing). The lack of media attention to the Rwandan genocide accounts for the lack of knowledge of it now among the populace who were adults during the genocide, which gives a good reason as to why the United States could do so little without any backlash from the people. If more people knew about the atrocities, I believe more people would have protested and would have forced the United States to do something about Rwanda.

And finally the fifth element, the fact that the vast majority of killings were done by citizens wielding machetes. At this point, it becomes clear how little people wanted to help Rwanda. The fact that Rwanda could purchase enough machetes so one out of three Hutu males could have one without raising global alarm is shocking to say the least, but highly expected after learning about everything that’s happened so far. According to Power, a “1993 CIA study found that some 40 million tons of small arms had been transferred from Poland to Rwanda, via Belgium” (Power 338). This is a very large amount of small arms for a country that was currently undergoing peace talks, and the fact that this wasn’t more alarming to the United States and other powerful countries shows how little they cared. Even though I want to say the United States should have intervened, why would they? There was no pressure whatsoever for them to act and even now there’s no pressure for them to apologise about what has happened. The only effective thing that could have been done was more media attention to this issue because without that kind of pressure, I don’t see a way for any country to be willing to intervene.

Posts: 24

An announced Genocide

It was clear what should’ve been done, but the world actively chose the path of innaction. The callousness of key leaders and countries to enact policies of intervention caused the death of 800,000 innocent people. The genocide of the Tutsis was announced and not oblivious to the diplomatic leaders. The United States, a key leader on the security council did in its power to not rightly name the situation in Rwanda. They stood at the sidelines, watching while people perished at the hacking of a machete. How could the world ignore such pleas for help? The answer to this question goes beyond my understanding.

Furthermore, It is appalling that someone would say something like that: “Look if something happens in Rwanda-Burundi, we don’t care. Take it off the list. U.S national interest is not involved and we can’t put silly humanitarian issues on the list… Just make it go away”. This statement made me question two things, What exactly constitutes U.S national interests? And why isn’t the catastrophic loss of human life a priority?

Radio Mille Collines: It baffles me that the main priority of the Pentagon in response to interfering with the radio signals was the exorbitant cost (as one’s life is not worth more) and the fact that this operation would be useless because the situation required military intervention. If the United States did not want involve itself militarily it would have reduced the frequency and the rate of the killings by interfering with the radio. I was also angered by the fact undersecretary for defense policy said: “I believe it would be wiser to use air to assist Rwanda in the food relief effort”(343). This made it clear that these officials refused to help those in need because food relief effort in Rwanda would do nothing to protect the Tutsis as it would actually aid the Hutus in their genocidal plots.

UN Peacekeeping Forces: It’s ironic that the UN Peacekeeping forces left in the most dire and desperate moments. Protecting only foreigners lives caused the death of many Tutsis. Had the peacekeepers stayed the people seeking refuge there wouldn’t have lost their lives. I think increasing the number of troops in Rwanda would’ve been the most humane thing to do.

The G-Word: The Government could’ve called the massacres genocide doing so would’ve obligated nations to come together to help and it could’ve effectively thwarted the killings. Powers wrote: “The Hutu were generally reluctant to massacre large groups of Tutsi if foreigners (armed or unarmed) were present.” They were concerned about keeping this a strictly Tutsi cleanse”. The concern of massive lost of soldiers lives was not a real concern. The Tutsis under their protection were killed When the foreigners left, this shows their presence was a deterrence.

Machetes: None of the countries were committed to the goal of a weapon embargo in Rwanda. How come a country like Belgium who pleaded to protect let arms flow through their country to Rwanda? The fact that machetes were used shows that any troop with some weapons could’ve overpowered these weapons.

I can’t begin to wrap my head around this genocide. To think that people were not hiding behind their semi-automatic weapons while performing these acts numbs me. There is just no way for me to say that it was possible to happen because people were removed from the barbarity of it all. I also can’t begin to understand how forgiving some of the survivor accounts were even though they saw and lived through this horrifying tragedy. The haunting images of bodies on the streets, flowing downs streams and skulls that now remain will forever be ingrained in my mind.

Posts: 15

Rwandan Genocide

  1. Radio MIlle Collines: I think that this is a terrible thing that happened and that the people who announced where specific people were should face punishment for assisting in this horrible genocide and that the radio station should be punished for these actions as well. What is hard to understand about this genocide is that it would be hard to prosecute anyone because of the sheer amount of people who participated in the killing. It is crazy how they would say the locations of innocent people on the loudspeakers in the biggest city in the country and that this was allowed to happen. Samantha talks about how the radio station was a great help to the military so that they could find the remaining civilians they were hunting. She also talked about how there wasn’t much that could be done for the people and samantha said that they could have either sent a disruption signal to the radio mille collines to disrupt the signal.
  2. The issue of the UN in Rwanda is one that is hard to handle. The soldiers were ordered not to use deadly force to protect the rwandan citizens and the UN didn’t want any unnecessary conflict to deal with. Of course there should have been more that they could do for the people there. They should have used their guns and resources to protect the people that were being hunted by these citizens.
  3. I think this is a very controversial topic and i think even though it is terrible that no other countries helped them and that the UN ignored the big problem in front of them. The countries tried to extract all the people that were visiting and basically just took all the white people. I think that we shouldn’t blame this on the soldiers because they are just doing their jobs, I think we should blame the leaders of the countries that were involved in the genocide and the ones who made the soldiers stand by and watch these terrible things.
  4. The UN didn’t want to classify the genocide as an actual genocide because then they would be held accountable for the things that they weren't able to stop. The UN is there to protect human rights and i really don’t understand how this was not classified as a genocide. How could these countries stand by and let this happen to innocent people. I think this should definitely be considered a genocide and not considering that is disrespectful. When a group of people are targeted and 800,000 are killed in 100 days that should definitely be a genocide.
  5. The UN soldiers were instructed to not disrupt the weapon flow in Rwanda and this eventually lead to the death of thousands of people. The fact that they killed so many people in such a short amount of time with these weapons shows how brutal it is. Seeing that they were only armed with machetes leads me to think if the UN sent in troops it would be pretty easy to control the weapon flow and help the people of Rwanda.
Posts: 25

Dealing with the Devil

To deal with the Radio Milles Collines, the simple solution would be to jam their signal. It would be one of the more easy problem to fix, since intervening on this could have been easily done, but only wasn't due to American foreign policy wishes. The Clinton administration beat around the bush and described it as "censorship" to jam the radio to avoid having to do so. As Power wrote, the US and the Pentagon were the best equipped forces to counter the power of the radio during the genocide. Instead, the Pentagon was disinterested in such operations as well. However, if the radio were indeed jammed, it would have made it easier for Tutsis and moderate Hutus to flee and escape the Interahamwe's grasp, and potentially less people would have been killed, since the targeted were doxxed over the radio, broadcasted over loudspeakers in cities and large towns, so the extremists could track them down.

Lt. Gen. Dallaire also should have been given a higher and more expansive mandate by his superiors and the UN. It was clear that Dallaire had very little to work with from even the earliest beginnings of UNAMIR, as there was little willingness from the greater powers in the world to actually act with force, since he had to cut down his proposals and his force was not fully supplied. Despite several cables and telegrams sent by Dallaire, the UN still said no to his requests for more support. The UN, more specifically Kofi Annan and Iqbal Riza, should have had more foresight from what they learned from Dallaire's reporting, and allowed for the raid on the Interahamwe to happen. UNAMIR should have been allowed to act more forceful and have a presence in Rwanda.

New York, due to Dallaire's Secret Telegram, should have known that Tutsis and moderate Hutus, who were Rwandans, would be the primary targets of the genocide, not foreigners. In fact, the Interahamwe was less likely and willing to harm Tutsis and moderate Hutus if there were a large foreign presence around. Tied in with expanding Dallaire's mandate, the UN should have ordered the protection of targeted peoples instead of evacuating foreigners. Evacuating foreigns only act to prevent backlash from the mother country, which could potentially withdraw its support of the mission if the national was killed. The withdrawal of foreigners and the UN were what the Interahamwe were hoping to happen, since if the world were to basically abandon the Tutsis, the Hutu practically controlled their fate.

Rwanda is another moral failure for US foreign policy. While it succeeded in not taking action, it neglected thousands of human lives. The Rwandan genocide came at one of the most unfortunate times in US history - Americans did not want sending troops abroad after Vietnam, and the incident in Somalia further justified that view. Rwanda also did not have the luck of being within the US range of interest, so it was ignored in favour of matters in the Middle East or somewhere else. It's also not like the US was not aware of what has been happening in Rwanda - the President was also fully informed and briefed. The US was more interested in playing politics, calculating the reactions of the American public and Congress, than actually trying to save lives. Even though they would have to take the 'loathed actions, calling the events in Rwanda 'genocide' would have prevented further destruction of human lives.

The machete problem is more unknown, as it is unclear where they have received the weapons, and who was its benefactors. However, also tied into expanding UNAMIR's mandate, the peacekeeping force would have been able to disrupt the weapons going into Rwanda. UNAMIR should have also been able to do the raid on the Interahamwe and seize their weapons. The Tutsis should also have been given means of self-defense, so they could protect themselves. France should also have been held responsible for its role as a friendly government to the Rwandan regime, including sending military advisors and selling arms.

Posts: 27

800,000 People in 100 Days

The United States made a terrible mistake when it came to our approach of the Rwandan genocide. We know now that any claims made by anyone in a position of power at the time saying that they didn't know what was going on, or weren't sure about the severity of the situation were false and complete lies.

Learning about Radio Mille Collines and the role it played in the genocide was one of the most shocking parts about the killings to me. To use an invention such as the radio to accomplish terrible acts really puts into perspective the power we have with tools such as the radio and television to spread a message at an incredible speed. In this instance the radio's purpose did not change, it was still used to spread information, only this time it was dangerous information. After reports came out informing the world about the use of the radio in the ongoing genocide, leaders and groups that could have taken action chose to do nothing. It would have been fairly simple for the UN to block the radio signal, however some even made the argument that doing so would be a violation of freedom of speech, and nothing was done to stop the radio from spreading information to continue the killings. Its interesting how a violation of freedom of speech was seen as more important than the human right to live. It just goes to show how little people in power care about those far away from them socially, culturally and literally(through distance).

The orders received by the UN Peacekeeping Forces that were in Rwanda before the start of the genocide were misplaced and ridiculously counterproductive when it comes to the purpose the UN is supposed to serve. In class many people talk about the UN as if its a joke, or as if its unnecessary because of how poor they handle important situations, however I always thought that it was pretty important simply because its there. Learning about the way they handled the Rwandan genocide, however broadened my perspective. The UN brought together supposedly the most powerful and significant world countries to do something about a terrifying situation. But honestly I don't believe there was ever a plan to take action, or at least not to take action that would prove significant enough to save the lives of the Rwandan people. the lack of regard for the Rwandan people was the most terrible part about the choices made by the UN. Nobody stopped to consider the gruesome way thousands of people were being murdered, and if they did which is pretty likely considering everyone was briefed on the situation, it just didn't matter to them. There was absolutely no reason for the UN forces not to interrupt the flow of weapons in Rwanda, they were much better armed than any Hutu killing groups would have been, and if a threat had been posed to and UN forces they could've easily overpowered the Hutu.

There was no effort made by the United States to save the Rwandan people when U.S. troops were sent to Rwanda. The main and only focus was to get white Americans out, no more, no less. America decided to literally send out bystanders, our troops were there while people were being murdered. They watched people being murdered, and did nothing. Military support that was sent to Rwanda was only sent to help the foreign white people, because that was the priority. Nobody actually cared about the Rwandan people, they didn't care enough about the Hutu to stop them, and they didn't care enough about the Tutsi to save them.

The decision of the United States to avoid the term "genocide" was one made out of pure selfishness, and in Power's novel we really learn the lack concern the American government had with calling it such. America was rejecting the gravity of the situation, they understood it and recognized it, however they refused it. Out of cowardice the US did what they thought would be in their best interest, to them the ongoing slaughter in Rwanda was not worthy of the title of genocide, simply because it was not worthy of the alarm and urgency such a title warranted. The lack of support by the United States really speaks to true American values, to only protect what we see as somehow relating to America, otherwise known as white things. And of course "Americans" above all.

Probably the most startling aspect of the Rwandan genocide is the manner in which people were killed. Its hard to comprehend that ordinary human beings went around literally striking down neighbors and strangers with huge knives. The gruesome nature of these killings makes the Rwandan genocide an act in history that is one of the most difficult to find an explanation for, however I believe that such terrifying actions could have been avoided. If the Belgians hadn't colonized Rwanda, the Hutu would have never felt as though the Tutsi needed to be exterminated. The Belgians marginalized and oppressed the Hutu though their ideals that the Tutsi were simply racially superior. These killings are hard to fathom but I can see why they happened, years and years of being oppressed will not go unnoticed. As well as the fact that murders were a group thing, because it is very easy to do something, even something terrible, when you see others who you consider similar to yourself doing that thing

The Clinton administration failed. But the world failed. Hardly anybody in our vast planet decided that the lives of 800,000 people mattered enough to stop their slaughter. It did shock me that in the end the word just allowed the Rwandan genocide to happen, yet it would not have been surprising to me if it had taken the world much longer than necessary, considering past events such s the Holocaust. Nevertheless that never happened and places like the US say they regret their choices, yet I know that in the future things like the Rwandan genocide that would have been avoided, will happen again. And I know that again the world will just sit in silence.

Posts: 20

The world watches

Radio Mille Collines was key in aiding the military to find and kill more efficiently. The radio broadcasted propaganda, stating the necessity of the Hutu to kill their Tutsi neighbors. The radio also listed the names and addresses of Tutsis allowing for easy mobilization of the killers looking for targets. As we learned in the movie, the US debated destroying the radio or jamming the frequencies if they were not going to do anything else. In Power’s book we learn that the US had three options including destroying the radio antenna, jam the broadcasts, or transmit counter broadcast. As we know the US did none of these things, claiming that technology was insufficient or that there were legal reasons not to interfere. The US did not want to do something that would have been se easy and saved lives, because they did not want to be involved in this genocide and forced to act when they should have acted in some way.

The UN peacekeeping forces are seen guiding terrified white foreigners out of Rwanda. In the film other Rwandan people can be seen pleading the peaçe keepers with arms raised for help. The troops should have been ordered by Dallaire to protect innocent citizens and intercept the flow of arms before the end of the genocide. The troops did ask permission to provide aid and were denied. Both the troops and the higher ups who made decisions from afar are to blame. Those on the ground saw horrible things and knew that by leaving they were leaving people vulnerable. Making the decision to only protect themselves and not any other civilians with knowledge that they would be killed was a horrible act. The UN withdrew troops saying that it was too dangerous for the men, however with more troops the soldiers would have much more training and more far more weapons (guns). Also, by removing only the foreigners and leaving others to die is a clear way to tell the world that these white people are much more important than Rwandans.

The US government avoided calling what was happening in Rwanda as it was, a genocide. I found the clips of the woman speaking about Rwanda to be surprising and appalling. The signs of genocide were clear and messages were being sent to UN officials, yet the world powers sat comfortably and debated what the term genocide meant. If the US acknowledge the genocide, they would have to act. They should have acted given the information they had, even if they did not want to get their hands messy in a war. Even when the US was finally pushed to act, it seems we purposefully took time with the smallest details such as paint color, like stubborn children.

The last point is that most killings were done by recruited citizens using machetes. Machetes are difficult and personal weapons to use. They are very heavy and you have to be very close to the person to kill with it. This way of killing is brutal, and I wonder how anyone could kill using them, yet thousands dies this way. One out of every Hutu males had access to a machete, yet the rest of the world was not alarmed by this. Also, according to Power, tons of arms had been delivered from Poland to Rwanda, passing through Belgium. Stopping the flow of arms would have been one very easy way to stop killings yet people did not, profit again outweighed lives.

Posts: 25

Too little Too Late

Before I get into the the details of the Rwandan Genocide I want to start by saying how absolutely shocked I am that no one knew about, let alone cared about it, during the time that Rwanda was going on. Somehow nearly every American found out about it after the fact, when it was too late to do anything at all. Somehow the systematic murder of people in the modern era was just 2nd page news.

Radio Mille Collines: In terms of the Radio Mille Collines, I think that the United States and the United Nations should have jammed the signals. I feel as though that with less information the genocidaires would somehow be able to do less harm. Stopping the radio would also send a sign to the murderers that they are not only being watched but have the power to stop them. I also think that it would take the mundane and routine out of the systematic killing. Despite the bickering in the U.N. over how to do this I feel that they should have done something. At the very least wouldn’t it be smart to air on the side of precaution.

The UN Peacekeeping Forces: The UN Peacekeeping Forces as a whole just confuse me. WHat was the point of having them there, because honestly “monitoring” doesn’t seem like a real purpose. When they noticed the peace being disrupted why wouldn’t they do something to appease it. On top of this, for the most part the presence of the forces provided a sense of security and confidence for the Tutsi and a slight barrier for the Hutu. Understandably after the 10 soldiers were murdered they should have acted, not by taking the forces out, but by adding more. I feel that if you are going to have soldiers then you should be able to use them for more than just calling home. Granted the governments were hesitant after Somalia. Still The UN forces had more than enough power to stop or prevent the Rwandan Genocide.

United States Government: The issue here infuriates me to beyond all possibilities. All the signs were there, they had seen this happen before, they swore to prevent this sort of thing from happening again, and yet that's exactly what happened. This all happened in essence over a single word: genocide. Had they called it genocide then and there without hesitation or argument then mayne, just maybe we wouldn’t be studying it. There was no reason for them not to classify Rwanda as genocide other than the fact that they were lazy and afraid of what they had signed themselves up for, the UN especially.

Killing by Machete: The machete killings were yet another instance that the United Nations/United States had the power to end the genocide. The saying “don’t bring a knife to a gunfight” is prevalent for a reason. The UN and The US had firearms that were more accessible and powerful than what the radical Hutus had. In addition to that the Hutus were civilians, meaning that they lacked any training. Had the genocide led to a war against the UN, the Hutus would not have much of a chance. I honestly think that the United States and the United Nations like apologizing way more than acting.
Swoogity Swiggity
Posts: 15

Rwanda Ignored

Hello all,

For starters, when I asked my folks if they were aware about the genocide happening in Rwanda at the time, they said they had absolutely no clue that anything was happening and didn’t know about it until around a decade after it had happened. My father told me that he found out about it through the film Hotel Rwanda but as we discussed in class, it wasn’t exactly the best way for viewers to find out about it because of the truth behind the owner of said hotel. In order to address all 5 issues listed there had to first be an address of the issue. The moment people avoid addressing the issue of hundreds and even thousands of people being killed daily for 100 days straight, that is when it becomes a worse issue than when it is spoken of from the very start. Denying the fact that it was indeed a genocide gives the perpetrators the idea that they are above all and cannot be stopped. By allowing the killings to go on for so long also made those committing the heinous acts the idea that they were actually doing the right thing. This all stems from the heavy internalized racism and prejudices from predominantly white nations because their lack of action comes from their inability to sympathize with the victims in Rwanda. Furthermore, Africa and its countries for a very long time have been wrongly associated with poverty and corruption which is why it may have caused people from other countries to simply ignore the problem going on. As to what could’ve been immediately done, there should have been some kind of intervention from UN peacekeepers until they could receive backup and support. They should’ve protected those being persecuted at least until their safety could be assured. Leaving them to fend on their own and to suffer death to the hacks of machetes was cruel and selfish, keeping in mind that these soldier’s main purpose was to maintain peace. The troops were also not located in only one place, by creating a large safe haven for Tutsi and moderate Hutus, they could’ve not only had all of the UN troops helping maintain hundreds of thousands of Tutsi and moderate Hutus alive but would’ve also had all the troops available to them to protect the victims. There could have also been search parties sent out to go and extract victims from the more remote areas and bring them to said safe haven. Since the Hutu were publicly announcing Tutsi locations and identifications, by using the information provided by the perpetrators themselves, they could’ve helped save many many Tutsu from death. Finally, the events should have been classified as a genocide. The moment it was classified as such would mean that immediate action could have been put in place to help protect and act against the Interhamwe. This would also help several perpetrators also realize the gravity and horror behind their actions and therefore lessen the support for this movement and through this reduce the number of people at risk. After all was done, slowly removing this idea of superiority between the groups of people would result in a more peaceful living amongst one another. This would also remove the embarrassment and shame of having to not only live with their actions but also having to apologize to those whose families were killed off in great numbers. I think that will of this, there would’ve been a longer lasting peace and acceptance of one another as Rwandans and as people instead of hate or bigotry for one another.

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