Two nights ago, I attended a showing of Sometimes in April by the AJWS. The movie attempted to dramatize the attempted genocide of the Tutsis by the Hutus in Rwanda in 1994 and the way the world just stood by. The movie was shown in an attempt to galvanize action to stop the ongoing genocide of Blacks by Arabs in the Sudan. But the movie uttely sends the wrong message on this front.
In a testament to PC nonesense, all characters in the film fell into three basic categories, evil males who do nothing rape and kill women, helpless males who can do nothing to stop them, and heroic women who occassionally do. There are no images of heroic men attempting to defend their households from the attackers. There are not even images of Tutsi rebel forces fighting to retake Rwanda from these monsters.
Instead we are invited to view the genocide as being like the rains of April; something that comes unbidden, like the weather. And something that magically departs just as suddently, when the Tutsi rebels announce over a bullhorn that the Tutsis can come out from hiding in the swamp. There is no coverage of the fighting that allowed the Tutsi to take power. The folks who made the movie really want to avoid the notion that bad things happen when good men fail to act and that the action that these good men take sometimes needs to be VIOLENT.
It also images the Tutsis as helpless victims of Rwandan aggresion. It ignores the Tutsi massacre of 300,000 Hutus in 1972 in neighboring Burundi (also Hutus killed 100,00 Tutsis in Rwanda over the period from 1955-1965) and the fact that the UN had just escorted the main Tutsi force to the center of the capital. There was real fear on both sides. (For killing history see here).
The film covered the widespread rapes that the Hutu militias perpetrated on women without showing any of it. It did show some of the killing of women and girls. At the same time it shows little of the killing of men and boys. There are two possibilities here. Either the man and boys ran away leaving the women and girls alone to face the militias or they were simply killed first. If the former, the movie fails to confront the possiblity that some concept of male honor is an important part in the maintenance of civil society. If the later, perhaps it would have been better if all Rwandan were armed. Either way, it is simply that the men and boys who were killed prior to the rapes, then what is being shown is a cruel reprise of the joke : “world coming to an end. women and children hardest hit!”
The movie attempts to dramatise the fecklessness of the US, showing decision makers trying to avoid a repeat of Mogadishu. Coverage of the US response centers on the Prudence Bushnell, the heroic female Deputy Assistant Sec. State for Africa. She becomes increasingly alarmed at the genocide, repeatedly tries to persuade male US policy makers to act, and is rebuffed by them. In one scene, she is exhorting a US commander to shut down the Rwandan radio station goading the Hutu militias to greater levels of violence. He responds “Radio doesn’t kill people. People kill people” and then goes on to talk about freedom of speech. She is exasperated by the refusal of anyone to act. But we never see her doing the obvious alternative, COMPETITION. Perhaps it is too MALE, but perhaps we could have arranged to have the US broadcast radio into Rwanda with a competing message of peace and hope. Perhaps its just that Democracts prefer regulation to competition.
The movie neglects to cover the real background of domestict liberals and leftists rampant opposition to any US military action and de facto complicity in the
genocides in Vietnam and Cambodia perpetrated after the US departed South East Asia. What makes Rwanda a better genocide to cover than Cambodia and Vietnam in the 1970′s or Iraq in the 1980′s? Perhaps that it lets the left off the hook in allowing these prior genocides to happen. The movie manages to be relatively silent about the fact that the UN troops left without firing a shot in defense of the Tutsis that they had committed to protect and the fact that the French were actively supporting and providing arms to the Hutus.
At the end of the day, we must confront the fact that sometime the only way to stop bad men is through violence. Men who are willing to rape and kill for their own ends will not be stopped by words or arm bands. They will be stopped by force.
And that gets me to the current context. It is Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. The AJWS site says:
This month we commemorate Yom Hashoah and remember the consequences of inaction by the international community in the face of genocide. We remember and we still cannot, nor will we ever, comprehend how the world looked on as six million of us were gassed, tortured, displaced, starved and worked to death.
We vowed, “never again!” But is this declaration to be reserved for Jews alone? Jews must be the guardians of this call for action, highly sensitive and responsive to all attempts by any people to annihilate another people. The world stood idly by 60 years ago, and again as massacres unfolded in Cambodia, Rwanda, and now Sudan.
I fully support the sentiments in this text. I plan to attend to the rally scheduled for 4:30PM this Sunday in Central Park (on Cherry Hill by Strawberry Fields) to raise awareness of the ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan. According to the email
The rally is being coordinated by students from Yeshiva University (YU), with participation by students from Columbia, NYU, Rutgers, Harvard, and Georgetown. Among the speakers will be Ruth Messinger, President and Executive Director of the American Jewish World Service, Yahya M. Osman, general secretary, Darfur Rehab Project, Inc, who lost six members of his family to the Sudan genocide in 2004, and human rights activists Simon Dang and Maria Sliwa. There will be elected officials present as well. Sponsoring organizations include Human Rights First, ADL, AJWS and the Anti-Slavery Group.
I hope this rally will both raise awareness of the ongoing genocide and raise recognition that the way these sorts of things get stopped is by violence. The silence of many on the left about the prior ongoing killing and genocide in Afghanistan and Iraq that was stopped only by the US military is alarming. The possibility that the US may equip rebels to fight the Sudanese government gives me hope. I’d also like the US to grow the military sufficiently so that we have the resources to impose no fly zones on the Sudan. But again, the domestic liberals can’t stand any money spent on the military. They voted for John Kerry’s “fire houses in the US and not Iraq.” But I have hope that awareness of this tragedy will straighten them out.