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Remembrance is not enough - What could have been different

This month, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) is attending events in Rwanda and posting news online about the history of the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in Rwanda. At numerous points, the story could have gone differently. What if Romeo Dallaire's fax warning the UN of impending violence was heeded? What if the Arusha Accord was implemented? It's extremely painful to imagine that human error and complicity prevented us from averting the genocide. However, it's worth the difficult look if we can learn from these mistakes.

Political and civil society leaders have the responsibility to protect people, or speak out for their rights. But as individual citizens, what can we do? You can speak out against minor human rights abuses so they don't escalate into major ones. You can model unity and refuse to discriminate against others. You can confront leaders who promote discrimination and human rights abuses. With the rise of the Internet and social media, more people can document abuses and share them online every year. The global community will never be able to say "we didn't know" again.


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