This poem is about the Genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

The stains of the blood of the innocent
Of 1963 and 1973 had only started to fade
They still spelt the same word in the dirt
That they always had

Year numbers grow uniformly
As does the hope of an international presence
Conflicting convictions, order restrictions
Peaceful predictions, sent to monitor

1994 Rwanda had a glimpse of the 21st century
Beyond machete horizon
And that new mountain of festering death
Beginning with the rumours of an organised insanity

Pre-determined death of one; trigger
Prescribed prejudice, take up your arms
Call to the children to carve the smile from their own childhood
And lacerate family ties

Around 800,000 killed in one hundred days
Fitting the description by eyes, bloodshot with rivers
“Too mad and too methodical to be understood”
Described by those, silenced by memories of

Scavenger birds picking at the skin
Of the masses; no longer bleeding
With the last memories of rape, and last experience of the blade
The scavenger birds testify to

Observing without acting
The screams scarcely reaching the ears of the UN
And barely pierce through to the thoughts
Of who’s biggest challenge is to publicly avoid the label

Putrid murder of words
Permitting what they cannot say
Semantics severing veins of hopeful victims
Because a commitment of compassion comes with the word

Let hatred be called hatred and murder be called murder
Let selfishness be called selfishness and death; death
Let wasted lives be called wasted lives and blood be called blood
Let injustice be called injustice and this extermination be called

But it’s too late
800,000 lives are gone

Will the peace keepers be observers
Of the next extermination?

ethnic cleansing

In 1994 around 800,000 Tutsi's were murdered after the Hutu leader of Rwanda was killed when his plane was taken out by a mysterious missile. The Genocide was planned by the authorities. The presence of the UN in various areas of the country gave the people hope of protection, but this was not to be, the UN troops were under strict orders to do nothing but monitor the 'peace'. The leaders of the UN succeeded in their aim of keeping out of it by not using the word Genocide to describe what was happening. With the term Genocide comes the obligation to provide all help possible. The word Genocide was used after the dust was beginning to settle and the killing had stopped.


Written late 2007


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