Posted: 12:25 am EDT
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Gathering as a community today to remember and honor members of our Embassy family who perished in the 1994 genocide. pic.twitter.com/0GrlhTOPRd
— Erica Barks-Ruggles (@USAmbRwanda) April 16, 2015
— The New Times (@NewTimesRwanda) April 18, 2015
Declassified documents show efforts to block peacekeepers during Rwanda genocide led by Richard Clarke and Susan Rice http://t.co/dWQUS8hhrG
— Foreign Policy (@ForeignPolicy) April 17, 2015
— Magnus Boding Hansen (@m_boding) April 6, 2015
Exclusive: Rwanda Revisited: B Clinton said he was slow to recognize Rwanda genocide. US dips on ground knew better http://t.co/aHCsrBQHYq
— columlynch (@columlynch) April 6, 2015
To read about the frustrations of dealing with inaction from Washington, see Ambassador Prudence Bushnell interview, A Soul Filled with Shame via ADST. Below is an excerpt:
Once the RPF took over Rwanda, I was sent to check things out. It was yet another surreal experience. The countryside of one of the most populous countries in the world was literally deadly quiet. Berries ready to harvest were rotting on the coffee trees; houses stood vacant. The man who served as the ambassador’s driver drove us. When we were stopped by child soldiers at checkpoints, I learned never to look them in the eye. As we drove we heard the story of how the driver had hidden and what happened to some of the other embassy employees. Many were dead.
I participated in a memorial service for the FSNs [local Foreign Service employees] who were killed. I will never forget looking into the stony faces of employees who had been abandoned by the U.S. government. American officers who came up to speak would weep, to a person. The Rwandans just looked at us. I can only imagine what they were thinking and the trauma that was still with them.
She was asked what was the rationale for not getting involved:
“We had no interest in that country.” “Look at what they did to Belgian peacekeepers.” “It takes too long to put a peacekeeping operation together.” “What would our exit strategy be?” “These things happen in Africa.” “We couldn’t have stopped it.” I could go on….
I could and did make the argument that it was not in our national interest to intervene. Should we send young Americans into a domestic firefight, possibly to be killed on behalf of people we don’t know in a country in which we have no particular interest? From the perspective of national interest, people like Richard Clarke will argue we did things right.
In terms of moral imperative there is no doubt in my mind that we did not do the right thing. I could have a clear bureaucratic conscience from Washington’s standpoint and still have a soul filled with shame.