Sunday, July 24, 2005

Clinton and Rwanda

Former President Bill Clinton has apologized for not doing enough to stop the genocide in Rwanda. Back in 1994, about 800,000 Rwandans -- mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus -- were killed by Hutu militias. It's still not clear what was known, and when, but I think Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, head of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Rwanda at the time, was right to lay the blame broadly on the international community for failing to act. Clinton's apology is sincere, no doubt, and he is working valiantly to deal with the AIDS epidemic in Africa, but we all need to learn from that international failure and to intervene, where necessary, to prevent history from repeating itself -- yes, that means Darfur, but also Rwanda's neighbours, such as the Congo (see here for the latest).

Last year's Hotel Rwanda (****) did much to raise awareness of the Rwandan genocide. Let's hope we don't need a Hotel Darfur or a Hotel Bukavu a decade from now to show us what went wrong this time.

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