The International Community's Role in Genocide
University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.
Oral History Item Type Metadata
By in large, the American policy was simply to support anti-communist dictators in Latin America. I mean, it was a tragedy in some cases. Ethnic cleansing has been part of the Latin American game plan going back for many years. If you go to Buenos Aires, for example, you will find no Native Americans and no blacks. It is one of the purest white cities on Earth, because, you know, a century before ethnic cleansing became popular, they had taken all the racial minorities and pushed them out. So it was a long tradition. I mean, the genocides of the twentieth century aren’t new. I mean, those game plans existed for a long time in Europe, going back to medieval days.
The French were the real villains in Rwanda. They were permitting French arms dealers to send massive amounts of weapons in the country. We warned them it would trigger a civil war, but profits were profits. And the French did almost nothing to prevent the war that they had let begin, or maybe even encouraged to begin. Even in Yugoslavia—you know, the genocide was going on in Bosnia—we backed off. The Germans supported the Croatians, the Russians supported the Serbs; you know, we try to be nice guys in the middle, and we did nothing. When the children come through the Florida Holocaust Museum, we teach them that, in every genocide, there are three participants. You have the victims, the perpetrators, and the bystanders. And the bystanders are the one that do the most harm. We’re the ones who turn away and pretend: it’s not our kids, it’s not our country. Are we accomplices after the fact to the Holocaust, because our leaders kept silent? Are we accomplices to what happened in Bosnia and Rwanda, because we did nothing?