Presentation on theme: "Rwanda Hope in Hell. What happened? n Rwanda is a tiny country in the centre of Africa. n It has two main races, the “Hutus” and the “Tutsis”. n In April."— Presentation transcript:
What happened? n Rwanda is a tiny country in the centre of Africa. n It has two main races, the “Hutus” and the “Tutsis”. n In April 1994 the Hutus embarked upon a genocidal campaign which left around 1,000,000 people dead within the space of 6 weeks.
Bloodshed The Hutus broadcast many radio messages urging Tutsis to seek refuge in churches. In one incident 5,000 Tutsis crammed themselves into a church close to the town of Nymata. The Hutus surrounded the church and sprayed the building with machine gun fire, before tossing in dozens of grenades. Women, children and any Hutu who didn’t support the killings were butchered in horrific ways. Women, children and any Hutu who didn’t support the killings were butchered in horrific ways.
Our Shame The General in charge of the soldiers had warned 3 months previously that genocide was going to happen. His request for more troops was ignored. At the start of the conflict the United Nations had troops in a base just outside Kigali (Rwanda’s capital) As the killing intensified the UN actually withdrew its soldiers from Rwanda. This was interpreted by the killers to be a ‘green light’ from the outside world. “The anger, the rage, the hurt and the cold are so powerful that the option of destroying yourself is both real and attractive”
Our Shame In the absence of orders from the UN, the soldiers had to stay in their barracks and listen to the screams of people being killed metres away, by machete wielding thugs. Even after the images of Rwanda began to be broadcast on TV night after night the UN still did not react. In mid-April the withdrawal of UN soldiers began. Many were so disgusted with this decision they were seen burning their UN flags and blue berets.
Rwanda Today An entire generation of Rwandese children have been left orphaned or severely traumatised. Mass graves and bodies are still being uncovered today. During the genocide rape was used as a tool of war. As a consequence today 1/3 of the country is HIV positive.
Final Thoughts The scenes witnessed in April/May 1994 were taken from the darkest pages of human existence. Organisations like Comic Relief undertake very important work in rebuilding shattered lives and communities in countries like Rwanda, but we should question the attitudes of our government over Rwanda.
Final Thoughts Blair announced plans in January 2001 to hold an annual day of remembrance; “Holocaust Day”. He said that the world must make sure that another Holocaust never happens. He made no reference to Rwanda. The rate of killing in Rwanda was 5 times that achieved by the Nazis during WW2. In cold arithmetic, the killing in Rwanda was the worst the World saw in the last century. It is particularly tragic that we seem unable to acknowledge our own guilt in these events and the scale of the horror.