Month #3 of a year of Contemplation: Genocide

Today’s is a sad one: Genocide

It was pretty incredible and inspirational to visit Rwanda today, and to see all Rwandan people living and working together after the horrific 1994 genocide where one million Tutsis were murdered in just 3 months (For those of you not familiar, watch “Hotel Rwanda”). 

As we learned about what happened, it got me thinking about other genocides that occurred around the world, and among the things they have in common is the “perpetrators” command and manipulation of the media, and putting out false messages through media channels to whip up the less educated and those who feel disenfranchised into a frenzy.  It is amazing how fast logic, empathy, love, decency, etc. have been abandoned in these cases.

And it has happened similarly in genocides elsewhere, such as the Holocaust and in Cambodia.  When the Khmer Rouge took control of the Cambodian government in 1975 they began a “re-education” campaign targeting political dissidents.  These citizens, including doctors, teachers and students suspected of receiving education were singled out for torture and death.  Again, people were manipulated by mass spreading of what we would today call, “fake news”

Genocides have happened throughout history, and always to the later regret of the countries involved.  The genocide in Rwanda happened just 23 years ago.   There are genocides of one form or another happening now.

No one likes to be “bummed out” by a sad post or news story, and while that is certainly not my intent for this post, I do feel that as a global society, we are ignoring atrocities and not paying attention to warning signs.  In Rwanda, it happened so fast and escalated quicker than one could imagine.

Back on a happier note: if you want to be inspired by how people can rebuild their communities and society after such a disaster, visit Rwanda.  You will also be amazed by its stunning beauty and kind people.  This is a country that banned plastic bags 10 years ago!

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