The Personal Touch

When the Holocaust became general news after World War II, the cry went out, "Never Again!" Never again, we said, would we allow genocide to occur, wherein whole populations are destroyed simply because of who they are. We hoped that the world had truly decided on "Never again!" But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

In the past decade, among a myriad of smaller wars, there have been two major massacres that some have called genocides: Bosnia and Rwanda. Both of these were known while they were going on; both received only perfunctory attention from the United Nations and the major powers. Both were permitted to continue until massive destruction of human life had occurred. Neither is really yet over, but both have led to so much killing that now in both Bosnia and Rwanda the population is 70 percent women. Yet these women have not gone unscathed. Besides losing their husbands, fathers, and brothers in so many cases, they themselves have often been tortured and/or raped. Now they find themselves devastated, having lost their men, their homes, and often their self-respect.

What they may still have is children. In Rwanda, there are so many orphans that each woman is asked to care for six children besides her own.

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Sojourners Magazine November-December 1998
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