Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

2 April 2014

Central African Republic - a Hollow Promise of 'Never Again'

analysis

They said the Rwandan genocide would never happen again. They were wrong. SIMON ALLISON examines why the international community is failing the Central African Republic just as badly. It might not be a genocide yet, but whatever it is, we're doing precious little to stop it happening.

Never again, they said, as they counted bodies left behind by the Rwandan genocide, 'they' being pretty much everybody with even a passing interest in the African continent: Rwandans, of course; their neighbours; international organisations; NGOs; colonial governments; and the legion of armchair spectators, watching the carnage from their living room TVs and hurriedly pledging another £10 donation to Oxfam. This was an atrocity which no one, excepting perhaps the Jews, could truly comprehend, but it didn't mean its devastation didn't reverberate within each of us, our shock at what had happened tinged by our collective guilt at not having done enough to prevent it.

Exactly 20 years later, it's time to face another harsh truth: we still don't know how to curb humanity's very worst excesses. Faced with the same conditions, we would not be able to prevent another Rwandan genocide. And you don't need to look far past Rwanda for proof....

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