frontline online: the triumph of evil

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Incredible. I am not surprised however, since we have allowed atrocities to occur in Cambodia, Bosnia, and now Kosovo. These are places we could have made a difference, but have not, or only grudgingly. It is ironic however, during this time of President Clinton being under fire and the open cultural war between traditional absolutists and progressive relativists. I, being a relativist have to say that watching a travesty like Rawanda I see that there are events and actions which compell even the likes of me to say "Here is a time for the world to say this is evil and we will join together to stop it, regardless of our points of reference!" Please God, can we learn from our mistakes?!

Raleigh Green
ny, ny


Dear Frontline, Thank you again for bringing to light a difficult story that has been all but ignored by our "free press." Of course we can see Pres. Clinton's capacity for dissembling here but we must be mindful of our collective distaste for assuming responsibility for leadership in the world's trouble spots. The fellow from Vancouver I think correctly understands that great nations must lead. Leadership costs. No nation has a greater stake in preserving peace and prosperity in the world than we in the U.S. Now as always, we get the kind of leaders we deserve. I would be intereseted in how many people watched this program compared to the number of people watching the endless mind numbing dissection of the impeachment trial.

Stan Fure
minneapolis, mn


Never again? Only if you're from a place where you have "vital to our national interest status" (aka. white citizens). Kosovo? Albania? How about the Sudan? Why is it that our education system spends so much time lamenting the holocaust (as a Jew, I take no issue with teaching the lessons of the holocaust) yet they don't teach Rwanda? Why does the media report everytime there is a skirmish in Jerusalem, yet we never hear of the 2 million people who have died in the Sudanese Civil War? Why do we see the most recent bombings in Belfast, yet ignore to the terrorist activities of black and hispanic gangs in LA, Chicago, and every American City, which are exponentially more lethal than anything in Ireland? Racism gets so much hype in our nation, but our nation's social racism is no longer lethal, whereas the "World Racism" perpetrated by the UN and all world leaders combined is deadly to millions of non white people world wide. Don't show me another picture of is tame in comparison to the bloodier skirmishes in other "colored" parts of the world.

Jon Schwartz
salem, or


Dear Frontline, I want to extend to you congradultaions for a piece that will live in the minds of many Americans for a long ime to come. Unfortunately, the problem is that even the news media has bowed the knee to the almighty dollar. This is clear to see since the O.J. Trial got more air time than what took place in Rawanda, Sierra Leone, Bosnia and such. Thank you for not neglecting your responsiblity of providing a service of presenting us a big mirror, even if we won't like what we see. Clearly, Mr. Cliton has a dicotamy problem. We've seen him demonstrate the ability to see what is plainly as sexual relation with a woman and yet say it was not. We've seen him argue about the definition of the word 'is'. We've seen him call abortion something other than murder. To see him (via staffers)call genocide something other than genocide, until it's all over with, is no surprise. It simply fits the man's character. Because either he really beliefs 'as long as I don't call it what it is then it is not what it is', or he is man with a very disturbing set of values. As an ex-marine and one very familiar with the goings on in evacuation of non-combatants the scenes in this production were very haunting. Finaly, it is all too easy for us to point the finger but, we all must assume some responsibility. We CAN all do something. May I suggest that we start with prayer for those in leadership from Saddam to Bill.......

Armond Mitchell
kansas city, mo


This piece presented a lot of important information - I know that from now on I will be paying greater attention to other world events because of it. Perhaps, too, the pendulum has now swung in the other direction - instead of fearing another Somolia - politicians will fear another Rwanda. I am,however, concerned that this documentary will be used in high-school and college history classes and be presented as the complete picture with students believing that the UN was responsible for the genocide. However culpable they may have been, this act of ommission is still not as terrible of the act of commission -it is the Hutus who brutally murdered men, women and children.

The situation is never as simple as it appears. Some find Europeans coming into Africa and imposing their idea of stability on them as terrible as the inaction of the UN.

Ultimately, it is the attitudes of the Hutus and the Tutsis that have to change for this to be resolved Historically, exceptional leaders, religions, or time are more effective at this task than politicians or soldiers ever are.

Caroline Macri
new hope, pa


After seeing three of your episodes - this one, the one on the history of Whitewater, and the other on the "hidden" campaign scandal" - I have become more and more disillusioned with Clinton. Despite his efforts in making a good domestic policy, I can see 1) that his foreign policy is feeble (I missed your episode on Somalia but I would like to review online.) and 2) that he has truth-telling problems. Being caught for something petty like sex seems ridiculous, but his administration's ability to call genocide, genocide reminds me of his more recent problem with calling sex, sex.

Jim Kochert
washington, dc


I was utterly digusted at the in-action of so many people during this holocaust. Admittedly, I had no idea as to the extent of this atrocity since the press chose to ignore this as well. I can't help but wonder how many of you people at PBS, whom are so in love with this President, now have a serious doubt about his policies after seeing this piece. Where was the Rev Jackson, Maxine Waters, Carole M. Braun, etc. during those 100 days ??

Daryll Ben
lancaster, pa


Your program on Rwanda was stunning. Twelve hours after watching the piece, I am still in shock. A relatively well-informed citizen, I had absolutely no idea about the extent and viciousness of the conflict. And, of course, most troublingly, I knew little of the United States' tepid response to the stituation. Perhaps this underscores the effectiveness of the administration's abililty to manipulate the representations of the systematic murder of 800,000 people. I think it's rather counter-productive to conflate Rwanda with the current impeachment trial; however, I will say that I have generally supported President Clinton, and many of his ideological premises are (or so I thought) consonant with mine. In light of Mr. Clinton's (lack of a) response to the genocide, I am forced, though, to question this implicit support. The show was one of the most important programs I've ever seen. I will show it to all of my students.

Christian Sisack
flemington, nj


This show was truely horrifying. We see a world in which our President gets far more grief having sex, than ignoring the murder of a million people. It exposes the human race for what it is. We are petty; we are liars, & we murderers. Bill Clinton has once again been revealed: Shallow, and callous. You guys are on a roll. Keep up the good reporting.

Peter Colen
brooklyn, ny


This segment was extremely important and critical to understanding the Rwandan geoncide.

The U.S., the U.N. and the Beligan role in allowing the genocide was honestly made clear, and it's important that this type of irrational and racist foriegn policies is exposed.

However, if there were a part two to this segment, I would suggest that it focus more on the Why than the What.

I suggest to that history of European colonailism, the enslavement of African people, and the history of racism also be traced to this genocide. For it must be remembered that such events as these don't emerge out of vacum. They come out of a history of racist values, ignorance, and dishonesty.

Lastly, a part two needs to explore the role of the media and also the domestic politics and culture of Rwanda to address the questions of Why?

Bakari Chavanu
sacramento, ca


As I viewed your program this evening, I thought much about the current public opinion polls which are currently circulating about our "wonderful" president and his impeachment. Perhaps this will open up a few more eyes to the true ambition of the leader of the free world. He worries more about himself than he does his nation, let alone the rest of the world. He had the facts and he refused to act. Perhaps we as a nation will make a better choice for President the next time around, at least 800,000 dead Tutsis' hope we do.

Donald Barrett
cincinnati, ohio


Tonight was the first time Ive cried in years. I feel a complete emptiness inside.

Of course we should all be disgusted by the way our politicians handled this atrocity. But the question that I asked myself a hundred times while watching this documentary is, WHERE WAS THE PRESS? It was the responsibility of the press to MAKE this an issue while we could have done something. The media should have been responsible enough to shove this down our throats, to make us sit up and listen. I was only fifteen at the time and this is the first time Ive heard about this tragedy - yet I cannot escape the Clinton Affair. Who is in charge of the news media? Those persons should be held as responsible as any politician.

Bryan Phan
medford, ma


This is very strange program. The questions you ask were relevant only after you asked why the Rwandans did not defend themselves. Next ask why the adjoining African countries did not send their troops to stop the killing. Why must PBS always blame the U. S. specifically, and the Western Nations generally for any problem, anyplace in the world. The answer is obvious from your introduction. This was just another, piece of Jewish propaganda. Another attempt to blame the U. S. for the deaths of Jews during World War II. I remind you that it was the U. S. Armies that finally closed the death camps. This Rwanda piece was hardly subtle, and certainly dishonest.

Joseph Buttell
sacramento, california


I wish that the defense of "United States Interests" included human beings. To quote a soldier I knew from "Desert Storm" "I don't like the idea of risking my life to defend a barrel of oil." I wish our military men & women were allowed to protect those precious lives.

Maria Sprague
parkville, missouri


I do not remember a night that I felt more ashamed of myself. I can't remember the last time I cried like this. Where the hell were we all when this was happenning? Whatever happened to never again. This is an indictment of all of us. Of the US, the UN, the global community, the media. After watching the horrors of Rwandan genocide and the ubeliveable political posturing of the our government and the UN, I am convinced of only one thing: Never again? I pray for forgiveness...we allowed it to happen again.

Thanks to PBS and Frontline for opening my eyes and my heart to a sad episode in human history.

Geoffrey Mobisson
gilbert, az


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