Though following the Holocaust the world proclaimed “Never again,” while heartfelt, the sentiment has been proven to be untrue. Genocide is far from dead in our world. Rwanda, Congo and Sudan are just three modern-day examples of genocide–the latter two of which are still engaged in destruction this very second.
And now, following the declaration of “peace” that was made in May, Sri Lanka has been added to this list.
While the country recently declared a “victory” over the Tamil Tigers who rebelled against the government, the acknowledgment of Sri Lanka’s actions as genocide against the Tamil people has been rapidly coming to light globally.
The declaration of peace was immediately met with some skepticism when humanitarian workers were unable to deliver much needed aid and supplies to the displaced Tamil people; and now, though officials are denying it, the country is being accused of firing at hospitals during the civil war that lasted nearly three decades.
During a visit to Dresden, Germany and the former Nazi concentration camp, Buchenwald, today, President Obama said that it is up to other nations to help stop genocide when a country is danger from its own government.
“The international community has an obligation, even when it’s inconvenient, to act when genocide is occurring,” he said, responding to reporters who inquired as to how “never again” might apply to the situations in Darfur and Sri Lanka today.
He said that the United States is currently working to stop the genocide in Darfur, even as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir refuses to allow humanitarian aid into the country.
Though the president’s words were necessary and true, it is also true that words alone cannot stop genocide from happening. We can hope that President Obama’s words have not fallen on deaf ears, and that the international community–including the United States–collectively takes a stand and says together, “Never again,” this time, with an intent to make it so.