Genocide, human rights violations, murder, hate, these are good words, though most of us here have not experienced anything so awful to fully appreciate the weight that they carry. While we are privileged, there are many others who are less fortunate. Millions of people in this very moment live in an atmosphere of constant instability and slaughter. Genocide is still as prevalent today in 3rd world countries as it has ever been throughout our history. As a morally conscious country, as a morally conscious world, as morally conscious individuals we cannot stand for such injustices being done on our fellow human beings. But as an individual to try to stop these atrocities seems to be beyond possibility. The concept of genocide is no small matter through any figment of our imagination. But it becomes less overwhelming when examined through the rotary four way test.
First, is it the truth? I can stand here spout out statistics, facts, names and dates, but that’s not the truth. To say that 800,000 people were slaughtered within a 100 days, does not speak the truth, the scene of blood flowing though streets, the endless heart broken cries of mothers, and ever encompassing stench of death. 800,000 people, 100 days, just numbers, just words, it means nothing, it is not the truth, the truth of genocide is beyond comprehension, beyond explanation, it’s something that no one should ever have to understand, numbers in 800s die very day from the causes of violence, that’s my entire graduating class, dead every day, it’s hard to imagine, and those who have witnessed it, have found it impossible to describe. Lieutenant General Romeo Dellaire, he led a peace keeping force in Rwanda in 1994, when asked how he can still believe in god after the mass murders he witnessed, he answered simply, “I know there is a god, because I shook hands with the devil”. That’s what genocide creates, a hell on earth, the devil is present in every murder, in every unnecessary death, but we have the power to drive them out.
Now is it fair to all concerned? They say life’s unfair, and I know that it’s true, but it doesn’t mean we have to accept it, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to change it, and give every human being the equal opportunity that we as Americans hold so dear. All men are created equal, but some are born into a situation where they will never have a chance, those children being used as soldiers in Myanmar, Somalia, and the DRC right now. Those children who learned to fire a gun effortlessly before their 10th birthday, but who will never learn to read. Those children deserve the same opportunities that are handed to me, they will never see those opportunities, until we, the privileged ones, use the opportunity we have been given to fight for their rights.
Next, will it build good will and better friendships? The mere fact that genocide occurs obviously…