What I learned in Rwanda was that God is not absent when great evil is unleashed. Whether that evil is man-made or helped along by darker forces, God is right there, saving those who respond to His urgings and trying to heal the rest.
They want us to be afraid. They want us to be afraid of leaving our homes. They want us to barricade our doors and hide our children. Their aim is to make us fear life itself! They want us to hate. They want us to hate 'the other'. They want us to practice aggression and perfect antagonism. Their aim is to divide us all! They want us to be inhuman. They want us to throw out our kindness. They want us to bury our love and burn our hope. Their aim is to take all our light! They think their bricked walls will separate us. They think their damned bombs will defeat us. They are so ignorant they don’t understand that my soul and your soul are old friends. They are so ignorant they don’t understand that when they cut you I bleed. They are so ignorant they don’t understand that we will never be afraid, we will never hate and we will never be silent for life is ours!
My faceless neighbor spoke up:“Don’t be deluded. Hitler has made it clear that he will annihilate all Jews before the clock strikes twelve.”I exploded:“What do you care what he said? Would you want us to consider him a prophet?His cold eyes stared at me. At last he said, wearily:“I have more faith in Hitler than in anyone else. He alone has kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people.
...The typhoon of madness that swept through the country [of Rwanda] between April 7 and the third week of May accounted for 80 percent of the victims of the genocide.That means about eight hundred thousand people were murdered during those six weeks, making the daily killing rate at least five times that of the Nazi death camps. The simple peasants of Rwanda, with their machetes, clubs, and sticks with nails, had killed at a faster rate than the Nazi death machine with its gas chambers, mass ovens, and firing squads. In my opinion, the killing frenzy of the Rwandan genocide shared a vital common thread with the technological efficiency of the Nazi genocide--satanic hate in abundance was at the core of both.
May we always be burdened with thinking of the suffering of others, for that is what it means to be human.
In all my travels, I've never seen a country's population more determined to forgive, and to build and succeed than in Rwanda.
When all this is over, people will try to blame the Germans alone, and the Germans will try to blame the Nazis alone, and the Nazis will try to blame Hitler alone. They will make him bear the sins of the world. But it's not true. You suspected what was happening, and so did I. It was already too late over a year ago. I caused a reporter to lose his job because you told me to. He was deported. The day I did that I made my little contribution to civilization, the only one that matters.
My people are few. They resemble the scattering trees of a storm-swept plain...There was a time when our people covered the land as the waves of a wind-ruffled sea cover its shell-paved floor, but that time long since passed away with the greatness of tribes that are now but a mournful memory.
The first time it was reported that our friends were being butchered there was a cry of horror. Then a hundred were butchered. But when a thousand were butchered and there was no end to the butchery, a blanket of silence spread. When evil-doing comes like falling rain, nobody calls out stop!When crimes begin to pile up they become invisible. When sufferings become unendurable the cries are no longer heard. The cries, too, fall like rain in summer.
Darwinism by itself did not produce the Holocaust, but without Darwinism... neither Hitler nor his Nazi followers would have had the necessary scientific underpinnings to convince themselves and their collaborators that one of the worlds greatest atrocities was really morally praiseworthy.
The history of interactions among disparate peoples is what shaped the modern world through conquest, epidemics and genocide. Those collisions created reverberations that have still not died down after many centuries, and that are actively continuing in some of the world's most troubled areas.
If you believe Might is Right, it follows that whoever cannot hold their ground does not deserve to keep it.
That war [Bosnian war] in the early 1990s changed a lot for me. I never thought I would see, in Europe, a full-dress reprise of internment camps, the mass murder of civilians, the reinstiutution of torture and rape as acts of policy. And I didn't expect so many of my comrades to be indifferent - or even take the side of the fascists. It was a time when many people on the left were saying 'Don't intervene, we'll only make things worse' or, 'Don't intervene, it might destabilise the region. And I thought - destabilisation of fascist regimes is a good thing. Why should the left care about the stability of undemocratic regimes? Wasn't it a good thing to destabilise the regime of General Franco? It was a time when the left was mostly taking the conservative, status quo position - leave the Balkans alone, leave Milosevic alone, do nothing. And that kind of conservatism can easily mutate into actual support for the aggressors. Weimar-style conservatism can easily mutate into National Socialism. So you had people like Noam Chomsky's co-author Ed Herman go from saying 'Do nothing in the Balkans', to actually supporting Milosevic, the most reactionary force in the region. That's when I began to first find myself on the same side as the neocons. I was signing petitions in favour of action in Bosnia, and I would look down the list of names and I kept finding, there's Richard Perle. There's Paul Wolfowitz. That seemed interesting to me. These people were saying that we had to act. Before, I had avoided them like the plague, especially because of what they said about General Sharon and about Nicaragua. But nobody could say they were interested in oil in the Balkans, or in strategic needs, and the people who tried to say that - like Chomsky - looked ridiculous. So now I was interested.
As a Nobel Peace laureate, I, like most people, agonize over the use of force. But when it comes to rescuing an innocent people from tyranny or genocide, I've never questioned the justification for resorting to force. That's why I supported Vietnam's 1978 invasion of Cambodia, which ended Pol Pot's regime, and Tanzania's invasion of Uganda in 1979, to oust Idi Amin. In both cases, those countries acted without U.N. or international approval—and in both cases they were right to do so.
(On the beginning of the mid-1990s' genocidal war in Rwanda:)Within six weeks, an estimated 800,000 Tutsi, representing about three-quarters of the Tutsi then remaining in Rwanda, or 11% of Rwanda's total population, had been killed.
When you’re persistently deleted from history, media, and any other channel to access information – or that information is distorted – it’s far worse than physically killing someone. It, instead, induces a form of psychological death. How can you truly be alive, how can you genuinely breathe, when everyone around you believes that you either don’t exist or are dead?
Let my silence grow with noise as pregnant mothers grow with life. Let my silence permeate these walls as sunlight permeates a home. Let the silence rise from unwatered graves and craters left by bombs. Let the silence rise from empty bellies and surge from broken hearts. The silence of the hidden and forgotten. The silence of the abused and tortured. The silence of the persecuted and imprisoned. The silence of the hanged and massacred. Loud as all the sounds can be, let my silence be loud so the hungry may eat my words and the poor may wear my words. Loud as all the sounds can be, let my silence be loud so I may resurrect the dead and give voice to the oppressed. My silence speaks.
....in Bosnia, mass rape was a policy of the war, systematically carried out, implicating neighbors, paramilitaries, soldiers.
Matthew White, a self-described atrocitologist who keeps a database with the estimated death tolls of history’s major wars, massacres, and genocides, counts about 1.2 million deaths from mass killing that are specifically enumerated in the Bible. (He excludes the half million casualties in the war between Judah and Israel described in 2 Chronicles 13 because he considers
Let’s stand against the killing of innocent civilians. It is time to make the future better than today. Together we can bring peace and unity to our communities.
For many people, that war [WWII] is called the “good war” because it was fought against a regime guilty of unspeakable atrocities. But the Allies did not enter the war to save Jews from extermination. The United States entered the war after it was attacked by Japan at Pearl Harbor and, as a nation, we certainly did not do as much as we should have to save the Jewish population of Europe. The basic question is still with us: Is it right, justifiable, to intervene in a nation’s internal activities when those activities include genocide, ethnic cleansing, or some other demonstrable harm to a subset of its people?
Israel's demonstration of its military prowess in 1967 confirmed its status as a 'strategic asset,' as did its moves to prevent Syrian intervention in Jordan in 1970 in support of the PLO. Under the Nixon doctrine, Israel and Iran were to be 'the guardians of the Gulf,' and after the fall of the Shah, Israel's perceived role was enhanced. Meanwhile, Israel has provided subsidiary services elsewhere, including Latin America, where direct US support for the most murderous regimes has been impeded by Congress. While there has been internal debate and some fluctuation in US policy, much exaggerated in discussion here, it has been generally true that US support for Israel's militarization and expansion reflected the estimate of its power in the region.The effect has been to turn Israel into a militarized state completely dependent on US aid, willing to undertake tasks that few can endure, such as participation in Guatemalan genocide. For Israel, this is a moral disaster and will eventually become a physical disaster as well. For the Palestinians and many others, it has been a catastrophe, as it may sooner or later be for the entire world, with the growing danger of superpower confrontation.
The little boats cannot make much difference to the welfare of Gaza either way, since the materials being shipped are in such negligible quantity. The chief significance of the enterprise is therefore symbolic. And the symbolism, when examined even cursorily, doesn't seem too adorable. The intended beneficiary of the stunt is a ruling group with close ties to two of the most retrograde dictatorships in the Middle East, each of which has recently been up to its elbows in the blood of its own civilians. The same group also manages to maintain warm relations with, or at the very least to make cordial remarks about, both Hezbollah and al-Qaida. Meanwhile, a document that was once accurately described as a 'warrant for genocide' forms part of the declared political platform of the aforesaid group. There is something about this that fails to pass a smell test.
The United Staes had never in its history intervened to stop genocide and had in fact rarely even made a point of condemning it as it occurred
Religious intolerance is an idea that found its earliest expression in the Old Testament, where the Hebrew tribe depicts itself waging a campaign of genocide on the Palestinian peoples to steal their land. They justified this heinous behavior on the grounds that people not chosen by their god were wicked and therefore did not deserve to live or keep their land. In effect, the wholesale slaughter of the Palestinian peoples, eradicating their race with the Jew's own Final Solution, was the direct result of a policy of religious superiority and divine right. Joshua 6-11 tells the sad tale, and one needs only read it and consider the point of view of the Palestinians who were simply defending their wives and children and the homes they had built and the fields they had labored for. The actions of the Hebrews can easily be compared with the American genocide of its native peoples - or even, ironically, the Nazi Holocaust. With the radical advent of Christianity, this self-righteous intolerance was borrowed from the Jews, and a new twist was added. The conversion of infidels by any means possible became the newfound calling card of religious fervor, and this new experiment in human culture spread like wildfire. By its very nature, how could it not have? Islam followed suit, conquering half the world in brutal warfare and, much like its Christian counterpart, it developed a new and convenient survival characteristic: the destruction of all images and practices attributed to other religions. Muslims destroyed millions of statues and paintings in India and Africa, and forced conversion under pain of death (or by more subtle tricks: like taxing only non-Muslims), while the Catholic Church busily burned books along with pagans, shattering statues and defacing or destroying pagan art - or converting it to Christian use. Laws against pagan practices and heretics were in full force throughrout Europe by the sixth century, and as long as those laws were in place it was impossible for anyone to refuse the tenets of Christianity and expect to keep their property or their life. Similar persecution and harassment continues in Islamic countries even to this day, officially and unofficially.
Surely it is foolish to hate facts. The struggle against the past is a futile struggle. Acceptance seems so much more like wisdom. I know all this. And yet there are some facts that one must never, never accept. This is not merely an emotional matter. The reason that one must hate certain facts is that one must prepare for the possibility of their return. If the past were really past, then one might permit oneself an attitude of acceptance, and come away from the study of history with a feeling of serenity. But the past is often only an earlier instantiation of the evil in our hearts. It is not precisely the case that history repeats itself. We repeat history—or we do not repeat it, if we choose to stand in the way of its repetition. For this reason, it is one of the purposes of the study of history that we learn to oppose it.
I wish we'd be able to deliver our message at the global level on the need to recognize the past genocides in order to prevent new ones. Our message of peace and justice will hopefully reach every corner of the world.
FLIES IN DISGUISETell me,Have youReally seenFlies in a child's eyesOr heard their hungry criesIn the middleOf the night?Don't lie.You can protest all you wantAbout peaceAnd genocide,But unless you are willingTo take beatings for your fights,Your display of trendy showmanshipSimply ain't right.Go on,Carry your useless signsAbout an issue the worldAlready abhors,But it's TRUEHeartfelt actionsThat will preventSuits andSenatorsFrom creatingAny more wars.