Few experiences in one’s lifetime have the capacity to transform. It takes an event of such immense magnitude to shake up ones’ frame of mind but when this occurs, one’s life never remains the same. Before the occurrence of such an event in my life, I was less concerned as the plight of refugees and I cared even less about the reasons behind their refugee status. However, I soon realized that these reasons were not as far fetched as I thought and that our country has a great role to play in these foreign nations. (Harries, 2004)
The experience During the month of July 2004, my family decided to visit some close relations at a neighboring districts; I had never been in that area before. Our intention was to stay there for two days. Our journey was uneventful but pleasant and we arrived there in one piece. Upon arrival, our hosts gave us a warm reception and asked us to feel at home. This was rather difficult owing to the fact that their house was much smaller than ours. I was beginning to ask myself just how long I could bear being so far away from home. These selfish feelings were quickly thrown aside when I noticed unusual family members joining us in the living room.
Some young men – probably in their mid twenties – entered the living room and politely greeted us. I noticed that they had a foreign accent; one I had never heard before and this immediately sparked my curiosity. We began chatting with them and continued to so for one hour. They told us that they had been in the country for ten years and so they knew their way around our cousin’s neighborhood. Actually, I found out that my cousins (who are considerably older than I am) had adopted them seven years ago so we all shared second names.
After a while, I got tired of staying indoors and asked the two guys to take me around; one was called Andrew and the other Gregory. I wanted to find out what had prompted Andrew and Gregory to leave their country that I assumed was in Africa. Andrew was more talkative than Gregory and the former began telling me the story of his life. He revealed that he was born and raised in Rwanda until the age of fifteen. Before coming to our country, he had been living a relatively normal life with his family and friends.
However, in the year 1994, something happened in their country to change all this. Their prime minister who happened to come from the Hutu tribe was assassinated and all hell broke loose. Andrew told me that the political assassination was merely the straw that broke the camels back because there were ethnic tensions between the two Rwandese tribes from as far back as the colonial times. Andrew narrated that everything changed in a flash, the national radio was taken over by the Hutus (the majority tribe) and they used it to spread hate speech about the minorities who were the Tutsi.
Andrew told me that he was a Tutsi and was therefore a potential victim of these extermination crimes. He explained that killings began in different parts of the country and they eventually reached his village. He had managed to hide from the exterminators because a member of the other tribe was protecting his family in a church. But the exterminators learned of this, and entered the church; they were armed with machetes and guns exclaimed ‘come out you little cockroaches! ’ Andrew watched as his family members were killed one after the other.
He was lucky that the bullets never got to him since dead bodies covered him. The attackers went around to ensure that no one was left alive. When they got to Andrew, he had so much blood from other people that they assumed he was dead. The same thing had happened to Gregory. Andrew told me that he had remained under those piles of dead bodies for a whole week. What I learnt from the experienced Andrew and Gregory were one of the lucky Tutsi survivors who were enrolled in refugee programs with our country through an NGO.
They stayed with this non-governmental organization until my cousins learnt about their story and volunteered to adopt them. I learnt many things from my experience with Andrew and Gregory. First of all, I learnt to appreciate the peace and freedom, that exists within our country because it gave hope to people who had lost it completely. These two young men had a chance to start their lives all over again because a country like ours was open to their experience. (Hamilton, 2000) However, I was deeply disturbed by the role that the rest of the world could have played in their country.
Commonwealth: was founded in 1931 as an association of former British colonies, which committed themselves to world peace, the basic human rights & the fight against colonialism. But this goals were not reality, because there were conflicts between C. members (B vsP). The problem is that the C. is much more a political than a cultural association. It tries to unite people of very different ...
Many people have suggested that had the world intervened in the Rwandan genocide much earlier, then the hundreds of thousands of lives lost would have been spared. This was a modern – day Holocaust and every government in the world; including ours turned a deaf year to their plight. The Rwandese killed themselves for four months without outside intervention even from the UN. This issue got me thinking about our government’s role in peace keeping missions around the world; especially those ones that have the danger of spiraling out of control.
The citizens of this country may be living in relative peace but as international citizens, it is the duty of our government to protect the lives of innocent citizens such as Andrew and Gregory. I would never have thought of this issue, if my family had not taken that trip to visit our cousins. Through their kind actions, I began asking myself whether the government itself can demonstrate such good neighborliness today especially with regard to troubled countries. (DuBois, 2005) Political and social significance of the event
This event was a revelation to me as I hope it will be to the rest of the class because I saw our government through different eyes. Andrew explained that if there had been outside help, then they would not have to deal with some of the problems that they were undergoing at the time. The world has become increasingly global; through information technology, we can now hear, watch and even analyze political and social issues in other countries. In contrast to the mid nineties, news of any nature can reach individuals in different parts of the world at the touch of a button.
Consequently, our country and its citizens are firmly aware of the issues prevailing in almost all parts of the world. The government therefore has a platform for looking into the prevailing problems of the world. While our government has tried giving assistance, to certain countries, it would be nobler if the government extended their role in humanitarian crises of the world by participating in preventative initiatives. (Kissinger, 2001) One such illustration occurred earlier this year when an East African nation; Kenya began engaging in post election violence.
The clashes and killings were as a result of ethnic and political tension prevailing in that country. The world did not watch as these people continued killing one another because the US government sent its secretary of state who strongly suggested a government of national unity; their interventions saved that nation. Other countries also intervened and the violence was immediately halted. Our government should adopt such a strategy its foreign policy. It is not responsible to simply turn a blind eye to other countries when there is something that our government can do. Arnold, 2001) Another example of a country at war is Sudan; this country has been undergoing a lot of turmoil especially in the Darfur region. Many western or foreign countries have taken a hands-off approach to the plight of the Sudanese because they have assumed that these problems have nothing to do with them. However, as citizens of the world and also as responsible citizens, it is the duty of the government to take part in such initiatives a little more. We cannot operate in isolation because we all need one another.
... to its government and is entitled to its protection. This can apply to anybody, in any country across the world. Being a world citizen means ... mankind is working together to better the world is part of the makeup of a responsible world citizen. Without a doubt, they would have ... walk in someone else’s shoes, to understand how someone else lives their lives. They would live by “Be kind, for everyone you ...
Had governments in the world been more vigilant about helping one another, the situation in Rwanda would not have catapulted into such magnanimous levels. Consequently, similar events in other countries can also be prevented if the government was keener with taking part in peacekeeping missions. Indeed our country’s foreign policy should be viewed a social work because we are our neighbor’s keepers. (Mandelbaum, 2002) Change starts from within and it then spreads to other parts of the world. If our government was to take up its international responsibility today, then the lives of many innocent people could be changed forever. Conclusion
The event that changed my life occurred four years ago when I took a trip to my cousins’ place at a nearby district. During my stay there, I met some adopted nephews of Rwandese descent. They told me about their story and how they lost their lives. This meeting with them changed the way I perceived our government’s role in international affairs because I realized that it is not doing enough. Our government needs to exercise more corporate citizenry in order to prevent horrendous occurrences like Andrew’s and Gregory. If our government had been more participatory, then these Rwandese boys would still have relatives today. (Turner, 2001)