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Rwanda and Our Personal Responsibility

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In today's society of the twenty-first century, there is always somebody to give credit to, and always someone to blame for certain occurrences. Whether or not these accusations are justifiable is debatable, but the fact is, that people are always ready to place the blame on somebody else, rather than accept any or all of it for themselves. In 1994, over a period of just 100 days, one million Rwandans, primarily Tutsis, were barbarously murdered. All the while, the rest of the world stood by and did nothing. Ten years following the Rwandan genocide, General Romeo Dallaire told an audience, "It's up to Rwanda not to let others forget they are criminally responsible for the genocide." I fully agree with this statement. The small country of Rwanda was of no strategical importance to any of the world powers, and because of that, the world stayed away from the situation, and allowed it to unfold. However, one must question how stoppable of a situation this really was. In a way, an outcome such as this was inevitable given the conditions in the country. In the twenty-first century, personal responsibility must be accepted for certain events, but special care must be given to who is truly at fault in a situation.

So was it the personal responsibility of the United States and other leading world powers to intervene in Rwanda? The fact that we did stay out of the country while hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were brutally murdered is unimaginable, but what would the outcome have been even if we had made an effort to stop the genocide? Simply put, The country of Rwanda was bulging at the seams, overpopulated, and continuing to grow. In fact, this is still true today. It was only a matter of time before nature took its course and a disaster occurred. The age-old feud between the Hutu and Tutsi populations was very strong, and formed a dividing point in the country. However, I do not believe that this was the true reason for the genocide. There were many other underlying factors which contributed more to this foreseeable event, including overpopulation, and agricultural crises. This was very predictable. All the country needed was an excuse to combat these problems, and the hatred between the Hutus and Tutsies was the perfect reason. The same can be said in the current situation in Darfur, where certain issues have built up, and reached a breaking point.

Overpopulation is a very important factor in the situation Rwanda faced. Prior to the genocide, world aid organizations were providing Rwandans with food aid in order to keep the enormous population alive. This was intervention in a crisis, other countries taking personal responsibility for the starving people in Rwanda, and sending food to help fix the situation. However, by sending food aid, we not only allowed that population to persevere, we allowed it to grow.

If outside forces such as the United States had intervened and stopped the genocide initially, the issue would only come back, and with stronger force. The population would be even greater, and even more people would perish. While in all truth, the bottom line is that the First World did not care about Rwanda, because it held no important advantages for them, they may have done the right thing. This is hard to say, as horrific and tragic as this



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