Never Again, and again, and again.
Recently, I pulled my head out of the sand regarding the genocide in Rwanda. Since my recent missives on this topic on this website, I have read the excellent “We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families”, and am now most of the way through this book, which is an equally devastating account of the events of those hundred horrible days in Rwanda in 1994. I have two more books on the way.
I for one have been walking the streets of my little world with my head hung a little low, embarrassed by my lack of full understanding of what happenned there until now, and wanting to learn all I can about the scope of the tragedy, and our shameful ignorance of it all, perpetuated by the media here. I want to review what was going on in my life then, what could possibly be so important that I would have missed the full weight this story as it developed, even despite the woefully inadequate and complicit coverage the story received. How could I have missed this?
And the thing is, even despite my pathetic memory, I can understand how the murder of hundreds of thousands can be missed, because it's happening again.
Recently, the UN released a report saying the atrocities in Darfur, Sudan are not, we repeat, not genocide. Oh, sure, there's ethnic cleansing, because we can say that without being compelled to act. Oh sure, there are close to a million people dead, but it's not genocide. Let's be clear on that. This is exactly what happened in Rwanda, but almost in slow motion. A slow starvation is taking the place of swift machete blows, but the same ugly process is happening. So-called diplomats are bickering about the term genocide (because if it gets that label the UN is required to "act"), while people die.
Perhaps fittingly, I finished reading "We wish to inform you..." this past Thursday, as the world remembered the holocaust. I immediately started "Shake Hands"... and, with one eye on that book and one eye on the current Darfur coverage & inaction, I'm hard pressed to find any evidence, any evidence at all, of any shame, any lessons learned, any humanity.