frontline online: the triumph of evil

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None of this should surprise us. We don't have the political will or leadership to invest in our future (our children)let alone the lives of 800,000 Rwandans.

Why would we expect a selfish and xenophobic electorate and their pathetic opportunist of a leader (Willian Jefferson Clinton) to do otherwise.

The despots and murders will have a field day in Bill Clinton's "new millenium".

As things unfold in Sierre Leone will we think of Rwanda or will we think of Somalia .... will we think at all.

Jethro Antoine
jersey city, new jersey


Thank you for a very well arranged and unbiased review of a story that has received little press and insignificant coverage in the U.S.

Your documentary revealed,in painful detail, the ineffective, hypocritical duplicity that the Clinton administration is continually practicing. However useless the United Nations is in its attempt to fulfill it's charter to the world's nations, it still reflects the wants and desires of the United States executive branch. Why this story has not been printed or portrayed in its entirety in the mainstream media illustrates how controlled our information is.

If atrosities like that in Rwanda can take place during this time in history with an organization of all nations at the watch, the organization must be disbanded and a new approach developed. The United Nations is useless and has been proved again to be a dismal failed experiment.

Why [Clinton] felt compelled to make an apology at all speaks volumes of his administration's apparent guilt for lacking the courage to prevent such savagery in the first place. If Clinton wants to call himself the leader of the free world then he must take responsibility and lead by example, not abrogate responsibility to those unable or unwilling to respond.

James Arnold
pittsburgh, pa


It has always bothered me that my Jewish brothers and sisters were always the people who were synonymous with the word Holocaust. From this Frontline, I hope that we can all realize that Holocaust have gone on throughout human history and the phenomenon is not restricted to Jews alone.

Perhaps, we should also diminish the primary role Jews are represented by in the Holocaust Museums in Washington, DC and other places.

Thank you,

sol rosenberg
portland , oregon



... These are corrupt times. We are now experiencing a bankrupt morality unheralded in our history. Everywhere, there is ethics statements, but ethics rhetoric covers up reality. Our leadership in every branch of government is failing including the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The definition of a corrupt system is a system which eventually corrupts its members and spreads its poison to the Nation at large.. It is no surprise that genocide gets so little notice in this land.

However, I appreciate your work. Evil cannot stand the light.

Gary Zebrook
madison, alabama


This is one of the most impacting stories I'v ever been subjected to. I feel that, as a citizen of this great society, I am somehow responsible. Why am I just finding out about this? Was I not listening or was I not informed. The information age has already begun when this occured. I will be asking my representatives some questions. I will be assertive as a participant in this system that obviously requires me noticing more and doing more. My heart was breaking throughout your presentation. I thank you for your great work.

Barry Keys
no.hollywood, ca


Through the Looking Glass As Alice in Wonderland intoned to the Rabbit, "I see nobody coming down the road." The Rabbit replies incredulously, "Oh I wish I were so skilled, to see nobody on the road. It's all I can do to see somebody on the road."

PBS aired its Frontline special on January 26, 1999 entitled "The Triumph of Evil" covering the genocide in Rwanda, Africa in 1996. As one watched Frontline it became clear that the United Nations' Security Council and Western governments had stepped through the looking glass regarding Rwanda.

Now the same insanity stalks humans in the Sudan and in the Congo. Five standing armies from other African nations are fighting in the Congo. The world is watching and good men are doing nothing. People are being butchered, while politicians decide which words to use in describing their ambivalence.

When the Allied Armies entered Hitler's Germany after WWII and opened up the concentration camps, a hue and cry arose throughout the world. "Never again!" Has it taken but 50 years for this revulsion to be replaced by apathy?

Where is the world Jewish community? Should they not be the "canary in the mind" where genocide is concerned? Where is the Black Congressional Caucus in the United States? Have they not told us again and again that these are their people?

Tomorrow morning when you awake, look hard at yourself in the mirror. Decide which side of the mirror you are on. Decide whether you can live with the shame of tolerating a genocide anywhere in the world.

Richard Wottrich
chicago, illinois


You've described what is undescribable. You showed hundreds of innocents moments before their deaths - or was it thousands?

Is this not a parallel with the saying "if you tell a big enough lie they will believe you"? ...except here it is "if you appear ready to perpetrate a big enough evil, they will choose to ignore you"?

Thanks for an incredible devastating(!) program.

F. Arnzt
newton, ma


A very good piece of reporting indeed. The most interesting topic explored in your examination of the crimes in Rwanda, were the references to blind eyes cast upon human atrocities while issues of commerce and world trade are considered much more important. Keep up the good work.

matt craven
keene, nh


Like everyone who viewed your story on Rwanda I was shocked and sickened by the horror that took place. I do think however that many of the people who feel the US could have saved Rwanda from itself are themselves in denial. How long do you think US troops would have been on the ground before the first body bags of mutilated American soldiers would have made there mission seem exactly like the one in Somalia. How many US soldiers would you be willing to sacrifice, 100?, 1000?, 10,000? And for how long, one year, five, ten? I live in a city that has had 300 plus murders a year for decades and no one can seem stop it. Before you pass judgement on those who you think had the power to stop a nation wide murder spree, imagine yourself in Rwanda with a rifle, trying to stop thousands and thousands of small groups of killers in hundreds of towns and villages, from walking across the street, in the middle of the night, and chopping there neighbors head off. Keep in mind that they would like to kill you also. As disgusted as I am by the carnage that took place I know, that for me, it would be much worse if your pictures also included piles of dead American soldiers rotting in the ungreatful African sun.

baltimore, md


"The Triumph of Evil"-'when good men fail to act' posed the question of whether we can say 'never again' to genocide. But is this triumph of evil a result of promoting an ideal that one race is superior to another, even to the point of this idea being sanctioned by the Belgian government? One of the saddest stories of our time is how so many Tutsis could have been slaughtered so openly and unconscionably. How can we ever expect the UN to be a humanitarian force when member countries are the ones who perform these crimes? Is our real lesson that the triumph of evil goes to those with a seat on the board? In criticism to Frontline, at least once during your report these actions were called "ethnic cleansing" by the narrator. Why discuss the failure of the government to call these actions genocide while even now you use such empty terms as ethnic cleansing? This phrase is one of the saddest and most inaccurate uses of our language, and implies that any hint of ethnicity is just being cleansed away. We should keep in mind that this genocide was started from the idea that one race was cleaner than another, and that this belief cannot fit into our world.

I would like to compliment both Frontline and Philip Gourevitch, though I wonder if Frontline would be discussing this event if it werent for Gourevitchs astute observations and his sharp-minded criticisms. But is your story complete? It seems as if he stated on The News Hour about six months ago that the US had supported the opposing Ugandan rebels. Will the press ever be more responsive to global atrocities? A retrospect of genocide five years after the fact will make many people cry and lose their dinner, but what about current events? Will you be reporting on the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict five years from today?

Noah Christian
bloomington, in


Appreciate your no holds barred reporting.Iam totally ashamed for US all.

Mark Peeples
austin, tx


I saw your report on the genocide in Rwanda, i found myself angry at what i was watching and could not believe that the people with the power to stop this did nothing and looked the other way. I feel that the Clinton administration is not the only one to blame, i feel the U.N, England, the U.S, and other countries should have done something, especially the U.N which stands for world peace and had troops there to begin with. What is the U.N good for if they can not stop something like this...This is sad.

Griselda Giusto
queens, ny


Last night I watched your program on the 1994 holocaust in Rwanda. I am ashamed of myself for not being aware of the horror, and being only vaguely aware of serious problems there. I am ashamed of my country. I am ashamed of the United Nations (What are they there for, if not to stop this sort slaughter. But, most of all, I am ashamed of the American (or Western) media giants for not sharing the truth of this with me via the morning, afternoon and evening news programs. This story should have been splashed all over the front pages of every newspaper until the carnage ended. WHERE WAS THE MEDIA?

Traci Carmona
boston, massachusetts


Watching the terrified refuges in last night's FRONTLINE program I recalled the words of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "If I fear at all, I fear dying - I do not fear death." Their anguished faces and solemn cries for help from world were simply chilling. The actions of American officials described in last night's program were a disgrace and a scandal. A fitting symbol of America's concern for human rights in Africa was Bill Clinton happily waving goodbye as he flew off into the night on Air Force One, happy he delivered his own plastic brand of contrition during a nice photo op. Just like in America, he feels everyone's pain, or so he says. A powerful show on a much ignored topic.

Larry Clark
delaware, ohio


Congratulations on your efforts to document events that occured at a time and place where reconstruction can prove treacherous. And congratulations on your efforts to convey the true nature of the atrocities perpetrated in Rwanda (since I do not trust the media on reports about Africa, I was closely following the translations of both French and Kinyarwanda. You did a good job.) The whole story, however, is yet to be told. The United States policy was indeed "do nothing" when it came to the genocide. But there was a more compelling reason than the ones given: our country was already engaged in subsidizing the rebels of the Rwandan Patriotic Front from Uganda. What the administration was afraid of was that sending in a stronger force to stop the killing would have jeopardized the investments it had put in to support the rebels. That is what among other things could have cost seats in elections. And for that we entenced to death hundreds of thousands of lives. I feel the whole truth should be told. I owe it to my former classmates, colleagues, and acquaintances whose lives were sacrificed. Incidentally, there were hundreds of African "technical assistants" (particularly Zairian teachers) who were lynched in this tragedy. So when we talk of rescuing foreigners, let 's make it clear we meant Westerners. So if you want the truth, continue to dig: there is more to uncover. It is not mere phraseology when some say that Rwanda is the shame of humanity at this turn of the 20th Century.

Ntal Alimasi
pittsburgh, pa


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