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1994-The red phone rang and rang and rang again.....and no one answered. [View All]

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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-11-08 02:41 AM
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1994-The red phone rang and rang and rang again.....and no one answered.
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Samantha Power was rightfully awarded the Pulitzer for her finely written and downright horrifying book "A Problem From Hell" which, in macabre detail, describes the calculated indifference of the Clinton administration when 800,000 Rwandans were being systematically butchered.

The red phone rang and rang and rang again. I don't know where Hillary was then. But her husband and his entire experienced foreign policy team - from the brass in the Pentagon to the congenitally feckless Secretary of State Warren Christopher - just let it ring.

The Age's Sandy Scheltema was the first Australian news
photographer to arrive in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide.

And as more than one researcher has amply documented the case, the bloody paralysis of the Clinton administration in the face of the Rwandan genocide owed not at all to a lack of information, but rather to a lack of will. A reviewer of Power's book for The New York Times, perhaps summed it up best, saying that the picture of Clinton that emerges from this reading is that of an "amoral narcissist."

Former Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, who commanded the UN forces in Rwanda at the time of the genocide, tells us a similar story in his own memoir. General Dallaire recounts how, at the height of the Rwandan holocaust, he got a phone call from a Clinton administration staffer who wanted to know how many Rwandans had already died, how many were refugees and how many were internally displaced.

Writes Dallaire: "He told me that his estimates indicated that it would take the deaths of 85,000 Rwandans to justify the risking of the life of one American soldier."

Eventually, ten times that many would die. And our response? A handful of years later, at a photo-op stopover in Kigali airport, Bill Clinton bit his lip and said he was sorry.


When good people do nothing ...

For once, the word "decimate" is used correctly. It means to kill one in 10 of a population, and this is what happened in Rwanda. More than 800,000 were killed in 100 days. The daily killing rate was said to be three times that of the Holocaust.

What are the necessary conditions for a genocide to take place? Though each has its particular, terrible set of circumstances, there are commonalities. There needs to be concerted, government-level incitement. One part of the population must be convinced the targeted group is the cause of its troubles. There needs to be envy and resentment. There needs to be a culture of obedience. There needs to be dehumanisation of the targeted group. Then there needs to be meticulous planning.

On April 20, the Security Council voted to withdraw all but a few UN troops. Later, Dallaire was to tell the Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda that if he'd had a well-armed force of 5000 he could have halted the genocide in a week.

The world powers were reluctant to describe the killings as genocide because, under the 1948 Genocide Convention, that would have meant they were obliged to act. So "never again" happened again.

After 800,000 lives gone because no one answered the phone,
who answers in the future really matters.
I prefer sound judgment and not a Political Jitsu Master
to answer that damn phone!

"Why did the United States not do more for the Rwandans at the time of the killings? Did the President really not know about the genocide, as his marginalia suggested? Who were the people in his Administration who made the life-and-death decisions that dictated U.S. policy? Why did they decide (or decide not to decide) as they did? Were any voices inside or outside the U.S. government demanding that the United States do more? If so, why weren't they heeded? And most crucial, what could the United States have done to save lives?" - Samantha Power, from her article, Bystanders to Genocide -

read Samantha Power's Books!

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