20 years ago, one of the most horrible and perhaps embarrassing moments of recent history begun. The genocide in Rwanda. A genocide that cost maybe 1 000 000 human lives and so much more pain. It also cost a lot of trust for the UN (perhaps wrongly) and the global system. Nobody could foresee that so many people would be killed in roughly 100 days and that despite the lack of modern arms so much killing could occur in Rwanda. Still we are seeing the aftermath with trials and grief.
However, I am not thinking and reading about history for the sake of history but to learn about us - human beings. For even if the genocide in Rwanda started so many institutional processes, questioned the whole world system at the root level and in certain ways created a new chapter in history - much is still the same.
The world system did not really change at its core, the member states of the UN could not put humanity in center but kept on going with national politics and 'no more Rwanda' did not really become true. Twenty years later we still see situations where no actors seem to be able to break a political deadlock for the sake of human lives. I'm thinking of Syria, Central African Republic, Crimea and so many more situations... Even if values such as human rights are incorporated and internalized throughout much of the civil society, daily life and even national jurisdiction, it is still seen as subordinated to international politics. I do realize that it is uses in many occasions also in international politics, but in my opinion mostly to legitimize an predetermined outcome.
Twenty years ago so many people were choked during the 100 days and did not react during that time. Afterwards it was argued that the inaction that marked this genocide would teach the world to never be inactive again. Yet now we partially see the same inaction again playing out in Syria and in CAR. So when people say that the atrocities of the holocaust could never occur again since we have that in memory - I fear the worst!