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Genocide

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Genocide

Genocide is something most citizens in America associate with Darfur. We see it on the news, hear about it from celebrities, and see the faces of its victims splashed across the covers of our news magazines. Most of us turn our heads, with the notion of “if it’s not happening here, it’s not a problem.” Reality for most people is something that has to be experienced first hand, the essence that seeing and feeling is believing. Without actually being there, most people find the situations where genocide takes place irrelevant to our modern world of technology, the fast paced flow of our society, and the intertwining of our family lives.

In the past decade, more films about the hatred and cruelties of genocide have surfaced in our theatres. With older films, such as Schindler’s List documenting the horror of Nazi Germany, to more modern cases such as the well known Hotel Rwanda, we are slowly learning more about the incidents of genocide around the world. Hotel Rwanda follows the true story of Paul Rusesabagina, and his journey to save many of the Tutsi population around him. The movie itself is gripping, with many scenes that would make any viewer want to turn away. While watching this movie, even I found it hard to turn away just out of the sheer magnitude of shock that these events are not fictional. A reviewer from the popular film website, Internet Movie Database quotes “This movie will make you rethink everything about what it means to be human and how much we need to think about all our neighbors in this world” With that comment, films such as Hotel Rwanda, Sometimes In April, and Shooting Dogs have a massive effect on getting the word out about Genocide. Films have such a massive impact on our culture that with the more big-budget movies about the atrocities of genocide and war crimes, the better educated and more compelled people will be to do something besides push it to the back of their minds. Although some fiction does come in to play, for the most part, the story is accurate. In the beginning, when the genocide was first started, the nation was 15 percent Tutsi, and 85 percent Hutu. When the area was colonized by Belgian rulers, they gave most positions of power to the Tutsis, who were taller and thinner and more apt to be better leaders (they thought) then the shorter Hutus. The situation finally came to a head during Rwanda’s independence in 1962, when a Hutu dictator took over the state, and blamed the Tutsis for all that had gone wrong in the previous years. When the Hutu president Juvenal Habyarimanas plane was shot down in 1994, all hell broke loose. Tutsi rebels were blamed for the cause, and Hutu extremists raided the streets and started massacring Tutsi business men and other elite citizens, and then moved on the general population. The Hutus who did not obey were executed themselves. The massacres claimed about 8,000 lives per day.

So why did America and Europe turn it’s back on the genocide happening in Africa? After the Holocaust, nations came together and pledged never again to let genocide escape the eyes of the world. Although the nation received it’s apologies from former president Clinton and United Nation Secretary General, it is looked on as no excuse. The question still remains: If we know genocide is continuing, why don’t we stop it? Director Terry George who made the film Hotel Rwanda states, “It’s simple. African lives are not seen as valuable as the lives of Europeans or Americans." Perhaps his theory is correct.

In an interview conducted with Daniel Scott , my opinions were very much changed about why we have not done more to help the regions in Africa affected by genocide. He says that although it may be the fact that many people turn away because we do not value life in remote countries, it is also due to the fact that many media channels are not let in to the region due to the strict limitations the dictator government has put on the area. As like most dictatorships, they control what comes in and out of the country and what information is released to the general public. If something is said that is not approved first by the leaders, it is certain the person in question will be executed. He too, is upset that former President Clinton made no effort to reach our resources and help those we need. The southern part of the country is holding the resources, where as the north is all desert. This is the root of the issue where he is from , as well as the difference of the sects of the Islamic religion that have taken it to extremes. Mr. Scott has spoken at many public places, helping to spread the word. He was in very small, about 6, when his village was destroyed and his entire family killed. He immigrated to America with other orphans, known as “the lost boys.” He hopes that perhaps hearing it from someone from the direct area can pursue others to

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