Tuesday, January 25, 2005

I have never cried in a movie theater before in my lifetime, until Saturday night. My wife and I took our date night to see "Hotel Rwanda" and its a great and important film. It tells the story of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and how the western world powers, including the U.S. sat by and did nothing. In 100 days, 800,000 people were killed mostly by machete. While Clinton was getting sexual favors in the White House office, horror was happenig in Rwanda and our institutional gov't structures couldn't cope. Of course it was justified at the time that leadership and personal integrity are not related issues, the important leadership issue is the economy. Tragically wrong.

This movie raises the question of evil in this world. Where does it come from? Why can there be so much hate? Why are we so cruel to one another for very little reasons? What is the source of our hate ideologies that justify inhuman cruelty? What can I do about it?
All questions I've been wondering about. Of course I know some of the answers, but to feel the weight of these issues, we need to wonder more and conclude less.

I found this artilce interviewing Madeline Albright and her reaction to Rwanda as she looks back:

"Where does Rwanda sit for you, on a personal and emotional level?It sits as the greatest regret that I have from the time I was U.N. ambassador and maybe even as secretary of state, because it is a huge tragedy, and something that sits very heavy on all our souls, I think.

Why a regret?
Because I wish it had been possible for us to do more, and President Clinton has said how much he has regretted it. I have reviewed the record a lot, and I don't think actually that we could have done more. I just wish that it had not been something that the international community was not capable of dealing with. So it's a huge regret.

I have been to Rwanda many times. I went and I met with orphans and widows. I went to see the mass graves. I saw the blood in the stadiums. So it's just a horrible, horrible story.

Why is it different from other tragedies?
This was such a massive killing in a very short period of time. Hundreds of thousands of people died very quickly. … I think going to Rwanda was one of the biggest shocks for me, and flying into a place that the church was actually the killing ground, because the Church was so strong there. People ran to the churches in order to flee from killing.

… Then there was a mass grave right next to it where the U.N. workers were excavating. There was a small skeleton that they had managed to excavate, which was about the size of my grandchild at that time. You could see the machete mark on the skull. Then going to this stadium where there was blood all over--

What had happened was that they herded the people into the stadium, and then cut their tendons at night when they'd run out of ammunition, so that they wouldn't run away."

How long oh Lord, do we have to sing this song? How long, do your people need to suffer? Some things I just don't understand.

1 comment:

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