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 Post subject: When is a Malaysian Airplane like a country in Africa?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 6:17 am 
God
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Malaysian Air - MH370 - even the call sign has become a ubiquitous part of our pop culture consciousness. 227 passengers and a crew of 12. For cable news, this has been the story that, even when it doesn't have legs, refuses to go way. What happened? Why are 239 people missing? How many tens of thousands of hours have gone into the reporting and searching for this aircraft?

If you asked most Americans what the biggest news story was in 1994, they would probably remember Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding debacle (It was rehashed again for this year’s Olympics).

This month marks the 20th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide.

For 3 months, beginning in April 1994, approximately 800,000 Rwandans were killed in a genocide, while the rest of the world looked away. To put it in an American 9/11 perspective, that's nearly 3 World Trade Centers a day for 90 consecutive days.

Timeline of the events in Rwanda

Romeo Daillaire was the Canadian Commander of United Nations peace keeping troops in Rwanda. For those who think the U.N. is capable of a one-world government, I suggest you read his account of trying to get the U.N. to do something in Rwanda while he watched the genocide unfold. (It’s a book you’ll never forget).

The United States is a signatory of the Genocide Convention, the U.N. treaty adopted after the Holocaust. The State Department spend much of the spring of 1994 parsing the difference between ‘genocide’ and ‘acts of genocide', because to recognize that a genocide was taking place would obligate the United States to act. The United States still remembered the 1993 unsuccessful intervention in Somalia, and many were afraid to act.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that the C.I.A. was well aware that there was a genocide occurring, and the President’s daily intelligence reports gave Clinton ample knowledge of what was happening.

When a Czech ambassador to the United Nations compared what was happening to the holocaust, he was taken aside by the U.S. and British ambassadors and told not to use such inflammatory language.

Bob Dole told CBS news "I don't think we have any national interest here, I hope we don't get involved.”

Rwanda is a landlocked African country, possessing little strategic value.

So why the comparison to Malaysian Air Flight MH370? I’m just struck by the amount of attention given to 237 people who crashed in an airplane compared to the amount of attention that was given to 800,000 people who died in a genocide.

Two of the most unforgettable books I have read:

Shake hands with the Devil - Romeo Daillaire . Daillare was the U.N. peacekeeping commander on the ground during the genocide. He later suffered a nervous breakdown.

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Phillip Gourevitch

Also recommended:

The Bone Woman: A Forensic Anthropologist's Search for Truth in the Mass Graves of Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo - Clea Koff

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 Post subject: Re: When is a Malaysian Airplane like a country in Africa?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:51 pm 
Sunbeam

Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:07 pm
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I agree with you.

From my comfortable suburban home here in the US, I lived through the Rwandan genocide...and I was very deeply disturbed by the lack of response by the world, and by the US. What was going on there was well covered by the news media, but (like in the WWII Holocaust, as it was happening) almost no one seemed to care. Rwanda was a far off country, in the unknown-to-most-Americans middle of Africa, without strategic value to the US...and unknown black people were killing their unknown black compatriots...so who cared??? It was uncomfortably reminiscent of WWII (when most Americans thought that it was just the Jews who were being killed...and even those who knew that it included gypsies and "homosexuals" and the physically/mentally unfit didn't care...because "no one" cared about gypsies or "homosexuals" or, mostly, the physically/mentally unfit either.

I have read several books about the Rwandan genocide, and the one which haunts me is the one that explains clearly how "pedestrian" the genocide was. Keep in mind that the killers and those killed were of the same nationality, and lived in the same places--going back many generations. It was--quite literally--neighbor killing neighbor.

Every morning the killers would eat breakfast and then head out for the day's "work": killing their "quota" (more or less) of their literal neighbors. At sundown, with their quota fulfilled (it almost always was), they headed back home for supper and some quiet time with their wives and families before they lay down on their sleeping mats to sleep. The next morning, the same routine began all over again.

During this period of time, most of the time the killers thought nothing of killing their neighbors. It was a job--and they had some [kind of; it varied] quota to meet of number of people to kill by the time the sun began going down. Old lifetime friends killed the lifetime friends who were now "the others" just because the killers accepted that this was their job to do. There was no reflection...no remorse. Just take a panga and chop someone to death that you have literally known your entire lifetime...and then go on to the next person you need to chop up, and keep chopping up, until they finally die. (Those pangas were never that sharp to begin with, and they got dull with use. Chopping people to death is physically hard work if that's what you're doing all day long, every day of the week.)

I see the photos of the skulls, neatly arranged in row and after row, and I know that most of those people were killed by people they knew, people they trusted, people who came from families that had been part of their family's life "forever."

Rwanda was horrible because it showed so clearly how we can be influenced so easily to do the unspeakable to each other.

Someday we need to learn to understand this process, because right now, it's mostly one of the mysteries of homo sapiens.


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 Post subject: Re: When is a Malaysian Airplane like a country in Africa?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:13 pm 
God
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Quote:
Bob Dole told CBS news "I don't think we have any national interest here, I hope we don't get involved.”


Perhaps we can someday understand the mysteries of why MeDotOrg goes out of his way to blame the impotent views of a Republican senator instead of the man who was really calling the shots at this time, President Bill Clinton, a man he undoubtedly still reveres as a leader in the Democratic party.

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 Post subject: Re: When is a Malaysian Airplane like a country in Africa?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:43 pm 
God

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ajax18 wrote:
Quote:
Bob Dole told CBS news "I don't think we have any national interest here, I hope we don't get involved.”


Perhaps we can someday understand the mysteries of why MeDotOrg goes out of his way to blame the impotent views of a Republican senator instead of the man who was really calling the shots at this time, President Bill Clinton, a man he undoubtedly still reveres as a leader in the Democratic party.


+1

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 Post subject: Re: When is a Malaysian Airplane like a country in Africa?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:41 am 
God
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ajax18 wrote:
Quote:
Bob Dole told CBS news "I don't think we have any national interest here, I hope we don't get involved.”


Perhaps we can someday understand the mysteries of why MeDotOrg goes out of his way to blame the impotent views of a Republican senator instead of the man who was really calling the shots at this time, President Bill Clinton, a man he undoubtedly still reveres as a leader in the Democratic party.


MeDotOrg wrote:
Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that the C.I.A. was well aware that there was a genocide occurring, and the President’s daily intelligence reports gave Clinton ample knowledge of what was happening.

When a Czech ambassador to the United Nations compared what was happening to the holocaust, he was taken aside by the U.S. and British ambassadors and told not to use such inflammatory language.

Let me make it clear: The United States inaction in Rwanda I consider the low moral point of the Clinton administration.

Bob Dole was the Republican Minority Leader in the Senate in 1994, he became Majority Leader in 1995 and ran for President in 1996. I included the quote from Dole for a couple of reasons: It was a succinct summation of many people's feelings about Rwanda, and to show that it wasn't just Clinton sailing against a tide of Republican consensus calling for our involvement. I believe that Clinton's position was wrong, but it was the general consensus of many political leaders.

I said "the rest of the world looked away" from Rwanda. I stand by that statement. Clinton was in the White House, and he showed no leadership on the issue, but Republicans were complicit. It was, if you will, a bipartisan effort. Viewing our failure through the lens of party politics, however, obscures the greater issue: This is not about which party we belong to, but what kind of nation we are.

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"If Abraham Lincoln were alive today, he'd roll over in his grave."
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 Post subject: Re: When is a Malaysian Airplane like a country in Africa?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:54 am 
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EmilyAnn wrote:
I have read several books about the Rwandan genocide, and the one which haunts me is the one that explains clearly how "pedestrian" the genocide was. Keep in mind that the killers and those killed were of the same nationality, and lived in the same places--going back many generations. It was--quite literally--neighbor killing neighbor.

Every morning the killers would eat breakfast and then head out for the day's "work": killing their "quota" (more or less) of their literal neighbors. At sundown, with their quota fulfilled (it almost always was), they headed back home for supper and some quiet time with their wives and families before they lay down on their sleeping mats to sleep. The next morning, the same routine began all over again.

During this period of time, most of the time the killers thought nothing of killing their neighbors. It was a job--and they had some [kind of; it varied] quota to meet of number of people to kill by the time the sun began going down. Old lifetime friends killed the lifetime friends who were now "the others" just because the killers accepted that this was their job to do. There was no reflection...no remorse. Just take a panga and chop someone to death that you have literally known your entire lifetime...and then go on to the next person you need to chop up, and keep chopping up, until they finally die. (Those pangas were never that sharp to begin with, and they got dull with use. Chopping people to death is physically hard work if that's what you're doing all day long, every day of the week.)

Thank you for your post.

One of the gruesome realities of the genocide was how many people were hacked to death with pangas (machetes). And it is hard to imagine, as you say, 'going to work' every day, hacking to death your neighbors, and your neighbors' children. And yet that is what people did. 'Making the world a better place', just like the SS-Totenkopfverbände in Germany.

Sometimes when I thought about the genocide, I imagined a huge gaping maw opening in the red clay Rwandan soil, accompanied by a subsonic rumble and the horrible smell of decay and things long dead uncovered. And out of that maw comes an evil vapor which permeates the living. There is no place where rational thought can retreat when confronted by something like genocide.

But there was no gaping maw, no evil vapor. The perpetrators were just people.

Somewhere near the end of Phillip Gourevitch's book, he recounts the story of a group of schoolgirls who in 1997, three years after the genocide were told to separate themselves into Tutsis and Hutus. The girls refused, and many of them were beaten or shot. Gourevitch gives the following as the conclusion; "Rwandans have no need-no room in their corpse-crowded imaginations-for more martyrs. None of us does.

But mightn't we all take some courage from the example of those brave Hutu girls who could have chosen to live, but chose instead to call themselves Rwandans?"

Remember the children.

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- Joseph Stalin
"If Abraham Lincoln were alive today, he'd roll over in his grave."
- Gerald Ford
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