A People Betrayed

In Tell Me No Lies, a collection of articles (John Pilger, Ed.) about investigative journalism, is included an extract from Linda Melvern's A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda's Genocide. Melvern laments the colossal apathy shown by the world when hundreds of thousands of Tutsi and moderate Hutu were brutalized and killed by the nationalist Hutus, with assistance from the government. The article damns the ineffectual leadership of UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali, who failed to provide workable options to increase the peace-keeping forces in Rwanda. No country, it seems, wanted to call the killings a genocide – some because they thought it was "sensationalist", some because that would invoke the genocide convention making it legally binding upon them to provide financial or material or military assistance, and some because they seemed not to care enough.

I am sickened after reading about the way in which ethnic differences can lead to such abject cruelty in this day and age, when humanity is supposed to have learned some hard lessons. An excerpt:

Marcelline lived in the commune of Taba in Gitarama. The Interahamwe rounded up her family and killed all the men. The women were made to dig graves to bury the men, and then throw the children in the graves. 'I will never forget the sight of my son pleading with me not to bury him alive … He kept trying to come out and was beaten back. And we had to keep covering the pit with earth until … there was no movement left.'


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