Starting out the class by teaching us about reflection I think really helped me to realize how powerful this course and the trip will be. As Mark Tortora said in class,
“reflection provides a deeper appreciation and understanding of something that has happened or happens at any point in your life.”
He also talked about why we reflect and about our thinking, feeling, and doing. This I believed to be a great way to start our first class because I am a big thinker, and sometimes I even over think, but reflection is not only about thinking. When you are trying to understand “something that has happened or happens” you need to not only think, but also feel and do. So now that we have been taught this lesson I realize that reflecting is something I need to be doing in my everyday life, and especially in this class and when we go on the trip. I have a lot to learn on my journey and plan on reflecting all the way until the end.
Reflection was a major factor when I watched Shake Hands with the Devil. It was a very powerful film, and I didn’t realize how much it would touch me. Yet not even five minutes into the film I felt so many emotions from Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, and from the words spoken and scenes being played out on the screen. Knowing about all of the people that died and all of the people that were affected by this makes me cringe. I feel much more thankful of where I lived and how I grew up than I was before watching the film.
It wasn’t just adults that were killed, it was children too, it was innocent people. Everyone was living in fear, even the people that purposely came there to help. Even when the military was trying to protect the people of Rwanda they would still die because of the environment they were in. This film really hit me hard towards the end when they went to the memorial and saw the skulls of some of the deceased. They were just lined up there, although it was meant to respect them, I saw it as more of what could have been, that room could have been filled with the living, not the dead, if this hadn’t happened then all of those people would have been living.
After the film had ended I thought of another item we discussed in class, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Those people in Rwanda were not given those rights. Article 3 even states,
“Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.”
But the Rwandan people had this right stripped from them when they were killed, and when they were scared of the possibility of death.
Another Article in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that I thought was not given to the Rwandans was Article 25,
“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care…”
None of this was given to these people, and now many of them have lost their lives in one way or another. So many people no longer have what they deserved, thanks to the evil work done when someone “shook hands” with the devil.
I feel so awful for all of these people, and now that I know about the evil that has happened in Rwanda I feel that a part of me has died along with those people. These people deserved all the rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, yet they were not given all of them. Life was cut short for them and I wish more countries and more people were there to help them, I understand that could have led to potentially more casualties, but the people of Rwanda deserved more than they were given and although Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire and his men were there for them, why weren’t there so many more people there too?