The hypocrisy of the western world

The hyprocrisy of the western world

I just read an account of the Rwandan genocide here. This tragedy will go down in history as one of the greatest failures of the western world.  Jordon keeps encouraging me to read a book about it and I think I will pick it up this Christmas.  5000 troops could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives but western democracies were too afraid of a few dozen casualities.  The US government actually lobbied to pull UN troops out of Rwanda and refused to jam radio transmissions and save lives.  What is it about western society that makes the public more concerned about a few dozen soldiers than hundreds of thousands of people?  Are we so self absorbed that we care more about the few thousand gay people that want to get married than the thousands dying in the Sudan?  We debate the merits of the Iraq invasion while we ignore problems that would be relatively cheap and easy to remedy in comparison.  Does the western world really care about anyone else?

  1. #1 by Jordon Cooper on December 20, 2004 - 12:51 pm

    Costco has Dellaire’s book in soft cover for $19.

  2. #2 by Jordon Cooper on December 20, 2004 - 12:55 pm

    You can’t blame the U.S. It would have cost $8500 dollars an hour to save those lives and a Pentagon study showed that one American soldier was worth 85,000 dead Rwandans. With that kind of logic, can we really blame the American government for letting 850,000 Rwandan’s die?

    The good part is that New Zealand tried valiantly to change the UN Security Council’s mind while leading the Security Council. While the Brits and the French joined the American’s in blocking them from doing anything or even making sure the UN team had drinking water.

  3. #3 by phil on December 20, 2004 - 4:42 pm

    bring the book with you to Oz

  4. #4 by Kevin on December 21, 2004 - 12:01 pm

    I remember hearing some news reports that the US wanted to send soldiers in, am I wrong about that?

    I can’t help but think that if the US had sent troops to Rwanda the same people who are so opposed to the war in Iraq would blame the US for everything that happened in Africa as well. Maybe the Americans are listening to all the anti-war protestors that came out after Iraq and are now staying out of other country’s problems?

  5. #5 by Kevin on December 21, 2004 - 12:03 pm

    One more thought – why are we just blaming the US for not stepping in. There are a hundred other countries, including our own fine one, who decided to do nothing to help. First, everyone says that the Americans should stay out of other country’s affairs and then they get blamed when they do just that. I guess they just can’t win….

  6. #6 by Steve Menshenfriend on December 21, 2004 - 12:23 pm

    You are probably right Kevin. But supporting the UN in Rwanda was the right thing to do, no matter what the anti-war folks would have said. It’s just to bad we didn’t do it. (I’m an American living in Canada.) However, the Rwanda genocide took place in the mid-ninties, so the large outcry against Iraq was not a factor. Jordon pointed to the reasons the US was against action in Rwanda … money and race.

    And thanks LT for keeping our attention on the Sudan. There is alot of suffering in Africa. Ten years ago it was Rwanda. Five years ago it was the Democratic Republic of Congo. And now it’s the Sudan. And what about Eithopia and Chad? or AIDS? or clean water?

    There are no easy answers. I agree with you LT, I hope that in the future we might spend a little less thought on which big screen TV to buy (that’s what I was thinking about last week) and more thought (and action) on dealing with the vast amount of suffering around the world.

    “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes”

  7. #7 by Leighton Tebay on December 21, 2004 - 1:24 pm


    My post is about the whole western world including Canada, not so much the US in particular. There were countries like New Zealand that wanted to send troops but were stopped. I think the reason why people point the finger at the US is because America boasts loudly about being the protector of humanity, freedom and democracy in the world. It is a difficult pill to swallow when a few thousand troops and 6 million dollars a month could have saved hundreds of thousands of people in Rwanda. Now we have another human catastrophe in progress in the Sudan and we are making the same mistake.

    Iraq is a much more complicated situation. There are geo-political, and religious factors that made a lot of people question whether a military invasion would actually improve the situation.

  8. #8 by Kevin on December 22, 2004 - 12:08 pm

    I apologize, I didn’t read closely enough and thought we were discussing Sudan – that’s where my thoughts were directed to.

    Regarding Rwanda, I really think it would have cost much more than $6 million a month to control the situation there. Transporting, intial set-up and maintenance of one division of troops could cost more than that.

  9. #9 by Bene Diction on December 23, 2004 - 11:15 am

    Maybe you just answered the question Kevin.

    Are you familar with Romeo Dellaire?

    Belguim, Canada…the western world, not just the US.

    LT – Dellaires book is a painful read.

    You might want to also read The Lion The Fox and The Eagle by Carol Off also.

  10. #10 by Del on December 24, 2004 - 9:17 am

    or maybe it would be just enough to read Daniel 4:17. del

  11. #11 by Bene Diction on December 24, 2004 - 12:54 pm

    Hey LT: Christmas Eve is your birthday isn’t it?

    Happy birthday buddy and Merry Christmas!

  12. #12 by Linea on December 25, 2004 - 1:36 pm

    The whole Rwanda tragedy not only caused disaster in Rwanda but in all of central Africa. So the country and it’s neighbors have lived through a decade of instability and death. Death due to war – and we all remember the pictures of the brutality there and elsewhere in Africa – but also due to disease brought on by the collapsing health care systems and displacement of people.

    We will, or prehaps our children and grandchildren will, pay the price for our indifference. I don’t know how. In general the people of central Africa are the kindest and most tolerant. They have had enough of war and just want to get on with their lives.

    The world seems to be very efficient at making war. At peacemaking and rebuilding we seem to make nothing but mistakes.

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