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Joseph Mutaboba on Genocide as the Work of Political Leaders

Joseph Mutaboba, Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations

The genocide is the work of political leaders, I should think. And once the political leaders have done their job -- their dirty job, I call it -- then the people become like part of the whole system. They internalize the whole concept, and they take the actions in their own hands and it becomes kind of a copyright for themselves.

In that case, what happens? Even the politicians now come along and blame their own people, instead of blaming themselves. So, it's a matter of putting a kind of an order canonically to know who starts what. How does it come up? How does it stem from the people and from the country, the region?

The world has failed to educate children about the causes -- the possible causes of genocide, what can be -- what it is, how it can come up, and see how it can be avoided. I'm sure that the -- if this kind of education had been given to children in Rwanda, for example, although the magnitude of the problem was so high, I still believe that people would not have been able to accept to kill other people. I know, for example, if you take the case of Rwanda, in south -- in Butare, for example, killings came at a late stage. Why? Because people had resisted. The local authorities have said no; the people themselves have said no. Until the president -- then acting president -- and his government came to give some kind of an order, a strong order to do it.

So, that's part of education, which has been lacking all along. And I strongly believe that if you do introduce such kind of studies and education in the curriculum, national curriculum, of course I cannot say that it will completely eradicate that evil thing in our minds, but at least you can minimize the risks of genocide occurring again.

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