Genocide Could Happen Again
University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.
Oral History Item Type Metadata
I will never forget my experience in Rwanda. Personally, it changed me. To witness what I did—to see mass graves, the way people were brutally massacred; to hear the stories of the woman that were raped, sexually violated in the most horrific fashion; and to hear the stories of people who may have belonged to a family of ten and then woke up the next day and they were the sole survivor—that had or has a lasting impact, something I’ll never forget. And what it does is it lets you know as a human being that you have a duty. You have a duty to react, to respond, to prevent this or these things from happening. You have a duty to care about your neighbor. Yes, we can look to government to do it, we can look to the United Nations to do it; but really, it starts with the individuals. That’s where it starts, and that’s what I learned.
I think what the experience has done is—to me—is that I realized that these acts, or genocides or whatever it may be, can happen. I think it goes back to what some people say is that this will never happen again. You put it behind you, forget about it, brush it under the carpet. But, after having been through my experience with the Tribunal for Rwanda for two and a half years, hearing the stories, I see the early warning signals. I believe that it could happen again. And I think that’s important, because you need to believe that it will happen again in order to prevent it. If you think that it will never happen again, that it was just a one-time thing, it was a fluke, it was Africa, then you’re just fooling yourself. We will have another genocide somewhere in the world. So what is important is that we need to recognize that unfortunately, it is within humans to do these things, and we need to be more informed. We need to be more aware, and we need to be more vocal in order to prevent this from happening.