Remember the 90's before Bush came along and everything was so nice and peaceful....
The Rwandan Genocide is the massacre of an estimated 800,000 to 1,071,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda, mostly carried out by two extremist Hutu militia groups, the Interahamwe and the Impuzamugambi, during a period of 100 days from April 6th through mid-July 1994.
For many, the Rwandan Genocide stands out as historically significant, not only because of the sheer number of people murdered in such a short period of time, but also because of how inadequately the United Nations (particularly, its Western members such as the U.S. and France) responded (or failed to respond) to or were even complicit in the atrocities. Despite intelligence provided before the killing began, and international news media coverage reflecting the true scale of violence as the Genocide unfolded, most first-world countries declined to intervene.
The United Nations established UNAMIR (United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda), in October 1993 "to help implement the Arusha Peace Agreement signed by the Rwandan parties on 4 August 1993"; its "mandate" ended in 1996 (UNAMIR official website). Prior to and during those horrific 100 days in 1994, the UN did not authorize UNAMIR to intervene and to use force quickly and/or effectively enough to halt the killing and other atrocities in Rwanda. While it "adjusted" UNAMIR's "mandate and strength . . . on a number of occasions in the face of the tragic events of the genocide and the changing situation in the country" (official website), given UN Security Council policy and various procedural constraints and other limitations imposed on UNAMIR, the United Nations failed to prevent the Genocide.
In the weeks prior to the attacks, the UN did not respond to reports of Hutu militias amassing weapons and rejected plans for a pre-emptive interdiction. Despite numerous pre- and present-conflict warnings by Canadian Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire, the United Nations insisted on maintaining its rules of engagement and preventing its peacekeepers on the ground from engaging the militias or discharging their weapons, except in self-defense. Such failure to intervene in a timely and effective manner to halt the killing became the focus of bitter recriminations toward the United Nations, Western countries such as France and the United States, and individual policymakers, including Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh and President Clinton, who described US inaction as "the biggest regret of my administration."
And then there was this: Kosovo . Talk about contentious there are still people who say this had more to do with oil or Clinton's love life than it had to do with genocide.
Nor should we forget Saddam Hussein and his murder of hundreds of thousands of his own people.
Today we see what is happening in the Middle East and we forget that not so long ago, more people died in Waco, Texas in a government assault gone awry than died in Qana yesterday or Iraq today. Maybe Stalin was right. Maybe one death is a tragedy, but a million is just a statistic.
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