photo of skullsGhosts of Rwanda
join the discussion - Does the phrase never again have more meaning today than it did ten years ago? If another Rwanda were to happen, do you think the world would respond differently this time?


It is a very fine, sensitive and moving program that makes me wonder whether our politicians who did nothing to help should be tried for doing nothing.

I am a democrat and I like Bill Clinton but I think that he and probably Kofi Annan are accessories to murder and should not be treated as if they did nothing wrong.

ian shine
new york, NY


Dear Greg Barker and team:

I want to thank you for your extraordinary documentary. You told the story of the genocide in Rwanda without ever deliberately playing on the viewer's emotions. Yet the viewer's soul was seared to its core watching evil triumph over humanity but for the handful of exceptional men and women trying to combat it.

One of the contributor's to this forum stated that you failed to explain how evil can overcome ordinary humans. I am not sure that there is a clean explanation for those times when evil overtakes mankind. What the "Ghosts of Rwanda" taught me is that it's more important to try to be a good human being who is prepared to lose one's life standing up for one's goodness than to understand the nature of evil.

And as tonever again, it seems that some form of genocide is currently occurring in the Darfur region of Sudan near the Chadian border. Once again, the world is turning aside. The "Ghosts of Rwanda" also taught me, as a South African, that it often takes the color of one's skin to be saved. I say that as a white South African who has never truly suffered in my own lifetime but have watched as the world keeps turning aside and aside and aside.

Again, thank you for a masterpiece of courage over evil.

Leigh Johnson
Washington, DC


Thank you for your gripping story. It will haunt me for many years.

The utter failure of leadership by President Clinton, Richard Clark, Warren Chistopher, Madeline Albright and Anthony Lake is near criminal. The denial of knowledge, in the face of overwhelming evidence, and the failure of any junior buracrat to resign in the face of this horror is also very disappointing.

The national media is also to blame for not informing the world of this horror.

America choose your leaders carefully. With cowards as leaders this will happen again. May the ghosts of the innocent children of Rwanda haunt them forever.



When will you re-run this eye-opening, life-changing documentary??

Thank you for this fantastic piece of programming.

Margi Sirovatka
Riverside, IL

FRONTLINE's editors respond:

Please contact your local PBS station which has the option to rebroadcast FRONTLINE programs.


I have been thinking about the documentary since it aired last night. The images and personal accounts of the atrocities that occurred will be with me for a long time. By atrocities I'm not only talking of the massacres, but of the total lack of support by the U.S. I was 16 in 1994, and I never remember people talking about all of the killings happening in Rawanda. It was like the genocide never happened. I first started learning more about what went on in Rawanda when my brother gave me a book a couple of years ago that he had read in one of his International Affairs classes in college.

The book was "A Problem from Hell" by Samantha Powers. The book has helped me see what little the U.S. has done to stop genocides throughout the last century. There were times I had to set the book aside because I was ashamed and disgusted with my government. I was reading some other peoples' postings, and one man wrote exactly what I was thinking. He said "why does it have to be considered a genocide before the U.S. will come in with aid".

I'm going in the Peace Corps in the fall, and after seeing this documentary I know that my life will be dedicated to helping those who can't defend themselves. All the people who stayed and saved so many lives, there are no words to describe how wonderful and courageous you are.

Patty McDowell
Cincinnati, OH


Dear Frontline,

Last summer I observed the proceedings of the International Criminal Tribunal - Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania, and had the "opporunity" to meet some of the alleged leaders of the genocide. While the smiling, well-dressed defendants posed for pictures for me, I was surprised by their confidence and even boredom with the proceedings - and the utter lack of guilt, remorse, or doubt they expressed. The word "evil" was used alot in your documentary, and having watched these men and heard their alleged crimes, I have to say that "evil" is exactly the right word.
A sad idea for a sequel: The international community's efforts to prosecute those responsible for the genocide, the International Criminal Tribunal - Rwanda (ICTR), has been a travesty of mismanagement, underfunding, incompetence, and interminable delay. I would take promises of "never again" and acknowledgments that mistakes were made more to heart if the international community and UN had not so thoroughly dropped the ball AGAIN in the prosecution of those responsible.
It seems that in 2004, like in 1994, Rwanda is just too inconvenient.

Sean Matheson
Peoria, IL

FRONTLINE's editors respond:

There is more about the work of the ICTR and the problems and challenges it confronts in a special report on this web site, "RWANDA TODAY," which is accessible off the homepage.


I was overwhelmed by the Ghosts of Rwanda, the video, narrative and interviews.

Of course, the really horrific part of the program was not just the dead bodies, but those who remained alive, maimed in unbearable pain and emotionally traumatized, especially the children. Unless inspired by God and touched by kind human hands, these children may grow up to be just like those who attacked them.

The question is whether or not the Rwandan government, Africa nations, the international community, aid and religious organization will extend their hands. I was exceptionally moved by the young woman who, although wounded, survived the massacre in the church and 43 days without assistance. Pictures of her pain and condition as she was initially attended for her wounds were exceedingly hard to watch. She is a terribly courageous person, who deserves never to suffer further.

Thanks for covering something with compassion and objectivity that no other news organization could cover in this manner. My congratulations to Greg Barker, Julia Powell and the entire staff who created this production.

Ed Julius


How many of the politicians (past and present) that can now "apologize" for turning their backs on the people of Rwanda are planning to attend any number of the memorial services for the victims of this avoidable tragedy 10 years ago?

They can see what happens when you do nothing, when you say nothing. Are any of them even a little curious to know what they can do now? Better late than never. (we will see)

cinda moye
houston, tx


thank you, for showing to the world how absent or unmoved the international world can be to the suffering of people.

words cannot explain my gratitude for your exceptional work you guys have done.thanks for showing us that good can always conquer evil.

steffi gordon
newyork, new york


I was totally glued to the TV screen, with tears in my eyes while watching this documentary. I had tears of anger, tears of hurt, as well as tears or guilt for not caring at the time.

Back in the 1990s, I had the attitude of "America is not the world's police" probably like a lot Americans did.

Looking back now, I would have rather gone into Rwanda then instead of us going into Iraq today. Human life is more important than oil. Rwanda was probably one of the worst tragedies in human history and the world sat by and watched.

What a selfish soceity we are.

Anthony Broaddus
Indianapolis, Indiana


I agree with General Romeo Dallaire's description of what it is like to arrive on the African Continent for the first time. It is truly awesome.
I had the unique priviledge to live and work in Kigali, though 8 years after the genocide. Watching the program and seeing the Mille Coline, the Hotel Umubano, Lake Kivu and the church in Kibuye brought back both good and not-so-good memories.
To understand the loss of life is impossible, unreal. To see the faces of those who survived is real. The dark eyes of those who saw death each and every day is still there.
The post-genocide generation is right now being showered with Western influences from cell phones to wine bars to movie theaters. The same countries who looked away are emulated by young Rwandans. At the same time, there is an under current of those who remember that they were forgotten.
I asked an office colleague if he believed it would happen again. His answer .. "Probably. I don't know when, but I do know the airport and borders will be closed so the expats will be forced to stay."

Ron Smierciak
Hudson, Ohio


I live way up in northern Canada and remember our General Romeo Dallaire being interviewed on CBC Radio before and during the genocide. There was no doubt about the desperate situation in the passionate testimony he gave.

How then could the Clinton administration have washed their hands of the affair. The shame of their failure to act tarnishes their administration for all time. We in Canada are very proud of our great hero, General Dallaire (who has attempted suicide at least twice) as reported in our media. He wrote a great book about Rwanda that everyone should read called 'Shake Hands With the Devil'. Once again, Frontline, thank you for the memorial. It should be required viewing for every world leader.

Terry Cumming
Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada


Last night's program raised a number of difficult and oft-asked questions: ... the most important question for me, and the one least addressed by this program, is this: how does a group of people become a bloodthirsty pack of animals? Is it a power trip? Is it, as one interviewee put it, a "possession" by Satan? Is it the expression of an inherent capacity for evil? Mind control by a powerful leader and media campaign?

I think the answer to this question is perhaps the most important of all -- knowing this would allow not only increase the effectiveness of preventative interventions and negotiators, but also help focus a meaningful counter-attack against such evils when they do occur.

Suzanne Bessette
Ann Arbor, MI


Never again means nothing but 2 words handwritten by Annan in the Kigali guest book.

It happened again, less than 2 years later, right next door to Rwanda, involving some already known actors, and claiming lives of more than 2 million people. So, tell me Mr Annan, what did you mean by "never again"?

The world leaders will intervene, not to save the humans, but to save the oil and gold and diamonds.

Fidela Sindihebura
Ithaca, NY


It was hard for me to not break down in tears ... Thank you Frontline for an excellent documentary and I hope that the world leaders watched and learned from it.

Matt Lehman
Albuquerque, New Mexico


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posted april 1, 2004

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