In the last few weeks, a mass exodus of more than a quarter of a million Rohingya, terrorised and starving, have fled towards the Bangladeshi border – a frontier that the Burmese military, known as the Tatmadaw, have booby trapped with land mines. This unfolding tragedy is a reminder that some people are considered superfluous. It’s a reminder that some lives matter less than others and that some people are sacrificed to serve the political and economic ends of others.
The Church’s culpability for the violence that plagued post-colonial Rwandan society, of which the 1994 Genocide was the culmination, extends beyond its role in the invention and advocacy of ethnic ideology. As the violence and anti-Tutsi rhetoric escalated in the lead-up to the 1994 Genocide, the Church preached extirpation from the pulpit.
Like so many other well-meaning white people, Professor Garrod’s motives in going to Rwanda are ostensibly good. Having lost the sense of meaning and purpose he once derived from his Ivy League professorship, he decides to go to Africa to ‘make a difference’. The film charts the months of rehearsals and, over time, his altruistic veneer slips. Just under the surface, a mindset that’s essentially that of the early colonialist – namely the missionary – begins to emerge.
When one goes to Myanmar one may hear people say, as I have, how flattered they are that one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century wrote not one, but three books about them. And the Myanmar government is again channeling Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece – albeit in a way he would have deplored – to rub out the very existence of the Rohingya minority: to make them into ‘unpeople.’
Australia has a shameful history of carrying out and sponsoring genocide and the Abbott Government is continuing this tradition, writes Tim Robertson.