PERSPECTIVES ON THE PAST
Transcript of Audio Clip
Patrick Manning, Northeastern University
The nation of Rwanda provides a tragic but central example of the dilemmas of international relations and human rights. International organizations and ideas of world order can create disasters as well as resolve them.
Rwanda had long existed as an ancient and well-governed kingdom. The people of Rwanda all spoke the same language and shared a common culture, all converted to Roman Catholicism. Belgium rule imposed ideas of hierarchy in race and civilization. Belgium's stereotyped images of a Tutsi elite perhaps related to white ancestors and Hutu commoners and labeled these groups as tribes with tribal hatreds.
By the 1990s, there was a Hutu dominated government, a Tutsi army entering the country from neighboring Uganda, and a Hutu-led radio campaign of hatred. The presidents of Rwanda and Burudi were killed in 1994 and the massacres began. Both France and the United States acted to halt any United Nations intervention for months during which time at least a half million people had died.
So the 20th century brought new ideas in international organization and peace making but the same century brought ideas of a hierarchy and race and in civilization which meant that human rights while treated more seriously with time were sometimes neglected and abused with disastrous results.