The remains of victims laid out in a killing site
On this April 2016, 22 years will have passed by since the Rwandan genocide which killed around 800,000 victims during 100 days
The responsibility of the international community has been criticized a lot so far for the tremendous and desperate result of the Rwandan genocide. The failure of U.S. army to intervene Somalia as “Black Hawk Down” shows, the United Nations principle of non-intervention in the domestic affairs of another nation, or the fact that Rwanda was regarded as worthless compared to Yugoslav Wars going on in Europe then…due to different factors intertwined, the international community, especially UN, eventually made a tragic mistake.
Reflected on this historical tragedy, UN adopted unanimously a new concept of “Responsibility to Protect” at the 2005 World Summit (United Nations General Assembly). I do not detail here, but “Responsibility to Protect” is that “if a state is not capable or eligible for protecting its populations, or a state has no intention of protecting its population, the international community, through the United Nations, has the responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means to help protect populations who are supposed to be protected by the state", and it is composed of “Responsibility to Prevent” (such as development assistance or assistance for Rule of Law), “Responsibility to React” (such as economic sanction or military intervention), and “Responsibility to Rebuild” (such as assistance for reconciliation or reconstruction). Thanks to the birth of this new concept, it was expected that the international community would play much more role in humanitarian crisis.
However, how much the international community remember the lesson we learned from 1994 nightmare? In the Syrian Civil War which has been continuing for 5 years in this year, 250,000 people were already killed and so many people are facing humanitarian crisis, much of which were done by the Assad government who is supposed to protect its populations. In spite of such a “reality”, the Security Council of United Nations has not played much role and fulfilled its justice in the Syrian Crisis due to a veto which is a by-product of the birth of UN produced by compromise between U.S. and Soviet Union. As a result, states continue to be main actors on the stage of the international politics, so it is the reality that UN has not played much role in resolving the civil war except in a side issue such as refugee crisis. In today where wars (conflicts) are being civilized so much, can we see true justice in the system where victorious countries of World War second have a veto, or in the system of veto itself?
How about each of us who consists of the international community? Is there any change compared to 22 years ago? In spite of the “history” of “Rwandan tragedy” which can be never denied, we do nothing but say “oh my god, that’s horrible.” to wars or poverty around the world projected on TV, and continue our dinner with our beloved family even today, don’t we?
It is said that human is an animal whose behaviors change in accordance with who you regard as your fellows. Is it enough only if you are “happy”? Do you hope also a “happiness” of your family? Or also of your friends? Or also of people around your residence? Or of people who live in your country? Or further, of humankind, all of human around the world? Or of universal living things? It is true that this argument would be very complicated and abstract, but in order to live a human life, we have to think.
What is the concept of “the other” to you? Do you understand that, in the same way as yourself, “the other” has personality, emotion, perception, and life? If you do, do you recognize people who are being brought to a death of absurdity right now at this moment as “the other” in the same way?
Recognizing different people around the world as “the other”, and understanding. At the same time, noticing the position and environment where you are placed, and becoming conscious about yourself. By going through and continuing these processes, we can deepen the above argument, cannot we?
In Rwanda, the gap between the rich and the poor has been increasing in spite of 6 per cent of economic growth rate. I saw some street children (children who live on a street) in Kigali although there are much less than in Dhaka, a capital in Bangladesh, an economic rapid-increasing country in Asia. Of course some people left behind the growth of the country are frustrated, and we can by no means deny the possibility that the feelings would be returned to ethnic conflicts at that time.
Around the world, there are lots of absurdity which we can do nothing or we can make no change to. The issue of “disparity” under capitalist economy today would be one of the things. The latest Oxfam report says that the 62 richest billionaires own as much wealth as the poorer half of the world’s population. Under the present world system or the concept of “development”, someone’s pleasure is supported by or based on someone’s pain. Also, in the present-world where globalization are increasing more and more and all things around the world are being connected to each other, “I” can be connected to “the other” at any time. Where did your clothes come from? Where did your smartphones come from?
For such a world, I shall continue thinking. What does “the other” mean to me? Who are my “fellows”? I believe that the world peace could be attained if each of us, as a human being, continue to think the above argument.