From The Grio —  The question that’s quietly and in some quarters not so quietly asked is why did President Obama relatively quickly and forcefully demand that Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi step down or else. The or else in this case were unleashing air strikes, and a volley of cruise and Tomahawk missiles at him and his military. The stated reason was this was a humanitarian action to prevent the massacre by Gadhafi of thousands of innocents. Yet, theU.S. did nothing a decade and a half ago when nearly a million Rwandans were massacred, and has been ineffectual on the documented rapes and massacres of thousands in the Congo.

The short answer is that President Obama was not at the helm during the Rwanda genocide. Bill Clinton was and it’s been well documented that the world knew and watched in pained horror at the slaughter, and the UN and Clinton ignored pleas from UN military officials on the ground there to intervene. Clinton has often mused that theU.S. failure to act is still one of his greatest regrets. The estimated half million rapes and murders in the Congo are another matter. The rapes and murders have as with the Rwanda massacre been well documented, and humanitarian groups and even some in the UN have screamed for greater intervention.


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President Obama has dispatched Hillary Clinton to the Congo and deplored the killings and rapes; Clinton pledged $17 million in U.S. aid to fight the sexual genocide there and appointed Howard Wolpe as a special advisor on the region. But none of this has translated out into direct action to stop the sexual and murderous genocide there. The U.S. has sanctioned the estimated 20,000 peacekeepers in the country. But just how effective they’ve been, what their mission, or even mandate is, is still a subject of fierce debate. The charges of corruption and the UN’s complicity with the Kabila regime in the Congo have flown hot and heavy. The U.S. contributes about a quarter of the funding for the mission about $337.5 million annually. But the sore point is it contributes no troops to the peacekeeping mission.

The deep suspicion is always that when slaughters by brutal dictators of their own people occur the sole criteria of whether there will be U.S. and even UN direct intervention is that the victims not have black skin, whether it’s the Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone or the rapidly developing civil war in the Ivory Coast. These conflicts as in the other African wars almost always take dead aim at the massacre of women, children, and the elderly, the innocents. President Obama has voiced deep concern about the conflicts, but the bigger question is even if he wanted to directly intervene or arm-twist the UN to do more, let alone the U.S. Congress to do more to stop the genocidal strife in these countries, could he? The answer is a painful no, and the reason why goes beyond the simplistic issue of poverty and race in Africa.

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  • Nadell

    So many emotions are expressed from my standpoint – heart-wrenching, total ANGER!
    We’ve witnessed this for years now. We should have intervened ages ago for Rwanda (past), an intervention awaits for Sudan (present), & Congo (present) yet we ‘took it by force’ w/ Iraq (past) and now Libya (present). With this type of trend, it is hard to believe that we stepped in to help the Jews during their Holocaust.
    These unnecessary wars have nothing to do w/ oil – both Sudan & Libya are African countries. I think the lack of action for certain regions of Africa has a deeper premise than what meets the eye….

    • African Mami


      There is no “deeper premise than meets the eye” when it comes to lack of intervention. The U.S. will ONLY intervene if it has something to gain, Rwanda had nothing to offer. Honestly, we DO NOT need the West to intervene. Africa can resolve its problems if it wanted to.

      The genocide that took place in Rwanda was as a result of strife and infighting between the two dominant ethnic groups whose problems can be traced back to the colonial era. The colonial master pitted the two groups against the other, making one think that they were superior, well educated etc. Similarly, a lot of African countries have undergone through the same problem as Rwanda, though not at the same scale rate. As a people we also have to take accountability for the fact that we elect leaders who continue to perpetuate the same stereotypical viewpoints as the colonialists. A good example would be the political climate in Kenya. Though stable, there is a lot of ETHNIC DOMINANCE by certain groups in the country which hasled to serious ethnic clashes over the years. The leaders are to blame for these as they CONSCIOUSLY pit certain ethnic groups over others. Those are just minor examples!

      It all boils down to the DECOLONIAZATION OF MENTAL ATTITUDES amongst my people to stop all these useless uprisings!

  • Hard a concept as it is for some people to understand, but the US is NOT a social service organization. Of course we only intervene when it’s to our benefit. Please name a country that does otherwise. Further, as far as Rwanda and those other countries are concerned. How quickly we forget. We did intervene in Somalia for strictly humanitarian reasons and the result was Black Hawk Down. Perhaps y’all don’t remember, but the bodies of dead American soldiers were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. No way in hell could Clinton have ever gotten approval to intervene in another black African nation after that. As for intervening for oil, as I understand it, Sudan has oil, but again, intervening there would be a different type of war altogether. The US can sit out in the Mediterranean and bomb Tripoli all day long. We have a half dozen or more nations behind us. France seems to be taking the lead as far as policing the no-fly zone, our role is limited to the missiles and supplying support. No biggie. We’re in the Med anyway, and refueling jets is a regular part of what we do anyway.

    Intervention in Sudan, Rwanda or Congo would require boots on the ground. That’s never going to happen after what happened in Somalia. Americans will never forget the sight of our soldiers being dragged that way. Boots on the ground is also more expensive and requires a greater risk of soldiers dying and being desecrated.

  • Nadell

    @ African Mami
    no worries, i didn’t take it as being rude — it was intense fellowship (as i like to call it..LoL) which is more times than not bound to cause sparks to fly! but it was done in good deed and passionately. we share the same love (concern) for Africa, different views/perspectives but the same degree and level of passion that’s all. we agree that we both have our standpoints so there’s a mutual understanding of each other’s views.
    and you and i both see that radical change is taking place in Africa. i pray it flows all across that beloved continent for their good and God’s glory!