frontline online: the triumph of evil

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For Educators

FRONTLINE's program "The Triumph of Evil" explores how the Western powers and the United Nations ignored warnings about the impending genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and failed to intervene even when it became clear what was happening.

This companion web site offers historical background and information explaining why the West lacked the will to act. These online resources can enrich classroom discussion and lectures in both higher and secondary education. Some suggestions:

Social Studies

Human rights is an important and difficult subject to teach students, for they often cannot imagine what it would be like to have one's basic rights violated. The following links would be useful to launch a wide-ranging overview and good discussion on the subject.

 Click here for an analysis of the word "genocide" and which 20th century crimes fit the definition.

 For a moving, powerful account of witnessing genocide, here's an essay (with RealAudio) by a BBC reporter who covered the Rwanda genocide.

 For a deeply disturbing story of one young victim of genocide, read about Valentina's story.


International Relations/U.S. Government and U.S.Foreign Affairs:

Rwanda was a dramatic failure of U.S. and U.N. policy. International inaction was the result of a series of political/bureaucratic decisions. The following links help to provide a sense of how United States foreign policy can become paralyzed, and the limits of United Nations' policy.

 This interview with writer Philip Gourevitch provides a thoughtful analysis of why the United States and United Nations did nothing to stop the bloodshed in Rwanda.

 Here's a detailed chronology of the United States' and United Nations' actions as the genocide unfolded.

 The 1993 U.N./U.S. peacekeeping mission in Somalia, in which 18 U.S. Rangers died, profoundly influenced the West's failure to act in Rwanda. Here's a summary of that failed Somalia mission, with links to more information.


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