Regardless of whether we’re talking about Darfur, Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) there are a few reoccurring trends to the systemic violence and oppression found throughout the world.
First, we’ve seen numerous examples of how violence in one nation leads to violence in other weaker nations. In fact, repressed nations and populations are particularly vulnerable to abuse and hardships, and we know from past examples that displaced women and children are often recruited for or subjected to violence. Using the DRC as an example, the first war in 1996 began as a direct result of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Secondly, for nearly every humanitarian conflict, the more time that progresses, the larger the crisis. Regardless of whether our focus as activists are around issues pertaining to civil/human rights, peace, the environment or health awareness, time is of the essence for most campaigns and advocacy work.
But when it comes to genocide and the killings of hundreds, thousands or even millions of people, it is mission critical to end the violence as quickly as possible! The mass atrocities of rape, forced displacements and the systematic assault on homes, crops, water sources, schools, hospitals and other life-sustaining resources associated with various cases of genocide throughout the world surely spark and continue to prompt reoccurring feelings of sorrow and action, but can more be done? We as citizen activists are doing our part to try and end violence, but is it possible for us to work to better prevent it?
Despite various peace initiatives, violence still occurs around the world, which is why it’s imperative that regardless of how busy our schedules seem, we should continue to keep an active presence in humanitarian issues. As citizen activists, we have done a fantastic job when it comes to gaining momentum around catastrophes and not letting the brutal violence and mass killings fall on deaf ears. But what’s really needed in many cases are early, preventative steps to avert genocide!
Shifting our attention away from reconciliation and refocusing our energy around preventative measures would aid in protecting the lives of millions of people while simultaneously working to mitigate large-scale global violence. And according to the Genocide Prevention Task Force, for less than a dollar for every American each year, the U.S. could raise the funds for an active crisis prevention program. While effective prevention would undoubtedly require a great investment and initiative from our national leaders, in the meantime, as activists, we can continue to actively participate in humanitarian causes, stay abreast with world developments and do our part to try and prevent future genocides.