The thoughts that were thunk and the goings on of my life.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Unheard Screams

I just watched the movie Hotel Rwanda, and I can't sleep without thinking upon the film. How is it that this is the first time I've really heard of the events that took place? How can hundreds of thousands if not millions of people die and I not hear a word about it? Was there something 'more' important going on that made sure that I didn't have a spare minute to ever hear of it?

The story is awful. It's like watching Schindler's List, but knowing that some of the blame lies upon your shoulders.

If you haven't seen the movie, then I really recommend watching it. You can find a synopsis to catch up to speed here. And if you don't know where Rwanda is, then study this map. You'll find it between Tanzania and the Congo. While you're at it, look for Sudan too.

The fact that a story like this ever had to be told is a disgrace. That lives would be so cheapened that they were beyond meaningless. The worst part is, we didn't care. Nobody cared. Even now, nobody cares. And what's sad is that tomorrow nobody will care.

There are so many things that this story brings to light. Some reviews have said that it makes heroines of the United Nations and that it villainizes western nations. But that's not the case. If anything the UN is largely to blame for what occurred. Their actions really show to me that many of their peace keeping plans are useless. What's the point of having soldiers with guns if they cannot protect those who are innocent? How can you tell soldiers that they must abandon those who need them most? How is it that the UN thinks it can be an effective agency when it only does something when it is already too late?

This isn't meant to be a nation-bashing post, but the worst part of the whole thing wasn't even hinted at in the film. That story involves one of the largest mass slaughters of the entire genocide. Up on a hill there was a college where the minority heard there were French troops.
"The Tutsis [the minority] mistakenly thought the French would protect them, only to have the troops watch over as 45,000 of them were murdered. French soldiers then buried the bodies in pits covered with lye and planted a soccer field over them. Some of the bodies, made white and mummified by the lye...the corpses of children hacked to death by machetes are on full view." (Source)

Seeking safety over forty-five thousand people went up to this place. Desiring hope and asylum, they were instead greeted with annihilation. I don't know what hand the French had in the actual killing, but they were there and they did not stop it, which is the same as condoning those actions. Tens of thousands of people were systematically slaughtered, and not a word was said to put a stop to it. I pray that our country would never do the same, simply let thousands of obviously innocent (were talking about little kids too) be pointlessly hacked into with machetes.

I would love to think that this story was a one-of-a-kind event, but I know it's not. The same story is already being screamed out again by now snuffed-out lives in the Congo and the Sudan. What sickens me is that you never hear the cries for help. Instead there is so much focus on Jessica Simpson's new diet (to look more emaciated than ever), how the prosecution and defense rested in the Michael Jackson case, the story of the idiot run-away bride on some serious amphetamines, or how single prop planes are a huge security threat to a bunch of people that are too busy doing nothing to actually get something done (aka the US Senate). Whoever decides what it is that gets filtered thru to our homes should be subjected to the horrors that they failed to let us know about. It's absolutely ridiculous that we are offered such lame excuses for news on a daily basis when there are millions of people out there begging for someone to turn them something other than deaf ears.

Why did this whole debacle happen? I think the moral is that we must treat all people fairly whether we like them or not. When people don't treat others with respect it allows such horrors as these to brew and then be unleashed upon innocents that are too weak to defend themselves. I only wish that this story would never have to be told again, but I know that's impossible. This sad tale will be told again and again because of the evil that resides in the hearts of some of those in this world.


Andrea said...

This is exactly why I seriously cut back my news watching. I'm so tired of the media filtering out what they think I do or don't want to hear and inserting their own personal agendas in the reports they do share. And I'm so tired of the government, media, or whoever hiding the truth about what is really going on in other parts of the world. It's no wonder Amercians are considered uneducated and narrow-minded to the rest of the world. We allow our heads to be burried in the sand.

Anonymous said...

My students read the play, "Diary of Anne Frank," and we discussed the Holocaust. Though I didn't know it at the time, this was probably the only time the kids would talk about the Holocaust. Anyway, after finding out all about Hitler and seeing pictures of all the bodies, I asked the kids if they believed that this would ever happen again. They said no. I read a copy of a news story that I had been following on NPR about the Sudan and the tragedy in Darfur. They were shocked. Thank goodness for NPR.

martha said...

if you liked hotel rwanda, you should see sometimes in april. it's about rwanda as well, but much more graphic and addresses the aftermath more. if i can get it past the administration, i plan on showing it to my classes to raise their awareness about things like this.