From Rwanda to Syria: Is History Repeating Itself?

The Rwandan genocide is being repeated right now in Syria. April 3rd, 2017’s alleged chemical attack in Syria killed 86 people, including 26 children. Horrific pictures and videos of children slowly dying in their parent’s arms while foam leaks out of their mouths are all over social media. What makes the Syrian conflict different from Rwanda is that these war crimes are happening in plain sight for the world to witness in real time (thanks to the Internet).

After the Rwandan genocide 20 years ago, when more than 800,000 people were killed during a 100 day period in Rwanda because of their skin color, inherited facial features, and ethnic group, we said “Never again.” The Rwandan genocide is by all means the gravest, hardest, saddest moment in human history.

Now, in 2017, we see a similar situation in Syria. And where is the United States today? President Trump states that humanitarian intervention is needed in Syria and the solution is to launch an attack on Syria with 59 Tomahawk missiles. I remain skeptical of this action. We may have to rely on the United Nations to intervene. But even with the Rwandan Genocide, the UN missed their chance. If the UN doesn’t protect the Syrian people, it means that humanity has lost its value.

Many have been calling President Trump a humanitarian for these missile strikes. But remember that it was only last week that the US dropped bombs in Iraq that killed 240 civilians. If Trump is truly sincere about saving the Syrian people, then he can tell Russia to get out and give the Syrian people a fair chance to fight without the need for American boots on the ground.

Rwanda should have marked a low point for humanity that we would never sink to again. But we are at risk of repeating the mistakes made two decades ago in the Middle East. I will be campaigning for the UN to intervene, and suggest you do as well. No conflicts are the same, but some things are constant: women and children are the victims and we must do everything we can to protect them.


Photo Credit: Freedom House