Black America was silent during Rwandan genocide

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(NNPA)—It was 20 years ago this month that the monstrous Rwandan genocide unfolded. In less than 90 days, close to 1 million Rwandan Tutsis and their Hutu allies were murdered by right-wing Hutu extremists, instigated by the government of Rwanda.

The scale and speed of the genocide defied imagination. Dramatized in the film “Hotel Rwanda,” the events of 1994 were linked to both the externally imposed economic policies that Rwanda was forced to accept, as well as historic tensions that were rooted in colonialism.

There is much that can and should be said about the events that unfolded, not the least of which being the Clinton administration’s obstruction of the United Nations’ efforts to prevent the genocide. Yet there is one thing that we, in Black America, rarely discuss: our own relative silence on the genocide.

It was striking at the time. With the notable exception of the founding president of TransAfrica–Randall Robinson, the Black political establishment was largely quiet. There was little outrage expressed with the Clinton administration for its obstruction. There were no mass demonstrations against the genocide and calls for an international military intervention to stop it. More than anything else there appeared to be something that can only be described as embarrassment within Black America.

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