April 15th, 2004 ISSUE #4 GHOSTS OF RWANDA Jay Thacker Those of us who think that we have suffered greatly will be humbled to remember the suffering in Rwanda that took place ten years ago in the months of April, May, and June. 800,000 people were killed in 100 days, while the leaders of the world spent more time and energy thinking about how to avoid the situation than thinking about how they could help the situation. The UN actually removed troops rather than send more, leaving a total of only 5000 troops with no guns to simply stand by and watch humans drag other humans out of their houses to kill them in the middle of the street, one after another, with whatever weapon was available - rocks, sticks, machete, guns, fire. It was remarkable to note that those with the courage to stay in the country often used the same word to describe the situation - Evil. The UN general that remained there had at one point arranged to meet with one of the Hutu militia leaders to try to persuade him to stop the killing. He noticed as he spoke with the man that there were still wet blood droplets on his hand and his clothes. The general remarked that, at that moment, he felt as if he was negotiating with the devil himself. Six weeks and 300,000 slayings after the event began, the United States finally decided to do something - they offered to send some APCs (armored personnel carriers). But first, they wanted to work out the details of who would pay for them, who would transport them, who would operate them, who would train those operators, and so on. Six months later and three months after the genocide subsided the APCs arrived. A pentagon lawyer discouraged the idea of jamming the radio transmissions beaming out of the Rwandan radio hate stations that encouraged and even organized the killing spree because it would go against America's policy of freedom of speech. America the Beautiful. At this point, I simply ask that all of us remember Rwanda. Also, recognize how little we have progressed, as a nation, in our own humanity. As a Rwandan survivor tried to drum up support in congress for some form of action, a congressman explained to her that, America does not have friends, America has interests, and America has no interests that justify sending troops to Rwanda. Ask yourself, when will human life become one of our interests?