The film Hotel Rwanda, as directed by George Terry, is a potent illustration of how multiple issues of politics, governance, negative ethnicity, poor policies and inappropriate responses of international community led to one of the horrific massacres in human history. The film shows that the genocide could have been averted or contained at the earliest stage had the international community acted with speed and decisive force without the superficial rhetoric of diplomacy and politics of sovereignty (Arendt). This film encompasses multiple themes that contribute towards a comprehensive understanding of the tragedy and weaknesses of democratic institutions in the developing world. Essentially, the film begs the question as to the place, relevance, suitability and application of democratic processes in a multi-ethnic background. In essence, a proper understanding of this film could include an assessment of historical factors at the core of conflicts that often visit the once peaceful communities of the African continent.
Challenges of nationalism in an ethnic environment are highlighted alongside the theories of the failure of the African state in light of Europe historical miscalculations, and the west’s influence and lack of understanding of the dynamics of the African state. It would be important to focus on the details of this film in totality instead of isolating the exact problem and assessing it as a one-time occurrence. Particularly, this should be explored in light of some of the theories that have attempted to explain the phenomena of genocide as caused by systematic and structural mistakes that develop at the subliminal level and, which eventually come to the fore at the supreme moment of ethnic tensions. From one perspective it is possible to explain the Rwandan genocide as a creation of the west. The hostile communities have no structures that could guarantee a proper balance of power within the context of democracy.
The structures of governance, which were left behind by the colonial masters do not provide any power-sharing formula that could reign in tendencies of ethnic balkanization. As such, the genocide could be viewed as a structural problem, which heightened negative aspects of ethnicity. Historically, the creation of the African state was done in accordance with the strategic interests of the colonial masters. There was no specific regard of the internal loyalties and pre-existing chieftains and political structures by the natives. The colonial masters encouraged the division of ethnic groups in order to weaken their power of collective bargaining on matters of independence. As a result of these divisions, the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups remained adversaries whenever it came to political power. In the film, this reality is evident when the Hutu leaders of genocide consistently refer to the Tutsi as insects.
At the psychological level, the ethnic competition appears to take on a struggle for superiority as the militia attempt by every means possible to intimidate their rivals. The psychological techniques used include rape and torture. From yet another perspective, the film portrays in clear light the manner in which the rich people in the Rwandese society exploited the poverty of the majority towards the ends of genocide. Most of those killed in the genocide were the poor people in the countryside. The poor were conditioned psychologically to believe that their main problem of adversity could be solved by eliminating the Tutsi. This film also shows the cost of genocide at individual and family levels. Intermarried couples between the Tutsi and the Hutu were the most affected as they had to undergo the psychological torture of watching the death of loved ones and incurring the label of traitors.
Arendt, Paul. Hotel Rwanda. Movies. 20 Feb. 2005. Web. 10 Oct. 2012. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2005/02/17/hotel_rwanda_2005_review.shtml>
China and Japanese Responses to Western Imperialism
Historical studies and cultural analyses have shown that Japan and China responded differently to western imperialism in the 19th century. The evidence adduced from multiple studies show a combination of issues of cultural differences, the discourse of race, issues of governance, territorial rivalries, strategic partnerships were at the core of the responses (Barr 2). Historians and sociologists agree that the Chinese culture, as compared to the Japanese is more reclusive. By nature, the Chinese do not open up to opportunities of cultural relationships. This made it difficult for them to engage in discourses that could imply an opening up to the western culture. Practices and policies of the Chinese were largely aimed at shielding their culture, institutions and social practices from all forms of foreign influences.
Strict legal structures and restrictions on socio-cultural practices enhanced the rigidity of the systems, hence leading to a systematic closing up of all avenues of interaction with the imperialist west. In response, the western imperial powers adopted competitive policies, which were meant to expose and challenge the internal systems of the Chinese. Through proxies and shadowy organizations, the west consistently impressed upon the Chinese establishment to adopt liberal policies that would grant its citizenry increased rights, freedoms and liberties. At some points in history, strategic sanctions and controls were introduced in order to force the Chinese regime into ceding to some of the demands made within the context of democracy. In its quest to spread its influence, the west adopted policies that identified the Chinese political leadership as the “other.” Opportunities were sought in multiple discourses to destabilize the Chinese regime.
Consistently, the west sought to exploit controversial and sensitive issues such as the clamour for Taiwan’s independence and the problematic relationships with The Dalai Lama towards fostering processes aimed at weakening the Chinese state. Further, the west provides free avenues for the migration of dissidents into its metropolis. The effects were equally felt within the establishment. In the rest of the world, the west signed pacts and agreements with many nations, which had the impact of isolating China and its policies (Barr 4). On the other hand, the Japanese embraced the west’s policies for strategic reasons. By cooperating with the west, Japan sought to grow economically in order to earn a vantage point in regional political power balance.
Analysts observe that the major intention of Japan’s association with the west was aimed at protecting its interests and disputed territories from the expansive and threatening regime of China. For instance, Japan enjoys strategic military alliances with the United States, which include protection pacts. Technology sharing has also helped Japan to increase its lead in many aspects of business. Japan’s ability to contend with the imperialist west lay in its flexible policies that made it possible for obtaining some synergies from western powers to protect, safeguard and advance her own interests on various fronts. On the other hand, China sought to align itself with the Soviet Union, an arch-rival of the western bloc. The eventual collapse of USSR spelt hard times for China, and a weakening of its presence in international discourses. These challenges were compounded by the collapse of communism, which effectively isolated China from vast parts of the world that had bought into the capitalist ideology and the policies of democracy.
Barr, Michael. How Chinese Identity Politics Shapes Its Depictions of Europe. Review of European Studies, 4 (3). <http://www.doaj.org/doaj?func=abstract&id=1064314&q1=china&f1=all&b1=and&q2=europe&f2=all&recNo=10&uiLanguage=en>
Origin and Character of Militant Islam
Historical analyses and case reviews have attached various factors to the origin and changing character of militant Islam (Brykcczynski 3). Some of the issues readily explored include cultural factors, religious intolerance, ideological indoctrination, anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, economic factors, and historical challenges. The same studies have shown that militant Islam has continued changing in structure, motive and composition. In the past decades, militant Islamism was largely restricted to anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism. Equally, the people involved in radical Islamism have changed from pockets of disgruntled and disorderly militants to include intellectuals and professionals who use their skills and talents to further the cause of terrorism.
The manifestation of radicalism and the tools involved have also grown in sophistication. Many scholars have attempted to situate the growth of radical Islamism in the opposition of the Arab world to the state of Israel The desire to redeem some of the territories such as the disputed west bank, the Gaza strip and the Golan Heights which were annexed by Israel for defence and strategic reasons in past conflicts is one of the driving factors that fuel radical Islamism (Brykcczynski 4). Another important factor that has often been cited includes the rise of formal support from established government to militant groups. This has often meant increased funding and steady supply of weapons to the militant organizations. For instance, groups such as Hezbollah have enjoyed the support of the Syrian and Iranian governments, which use them as proxies to launch wars against Israel.
Such groups also offer established governments opportunities and alternatives of fighting Israel without incurring the blame of the international community. The rise of radical Islamism has also been linked to improvements and innovations of information technology. The internet has provided the most convenient forum for indoctrination and recruitment of members across vast geographical spaces (Brykcczynski 2). As a result, the composition of these groups has become amorphous as various groups even outside the Arab world buy into the philosophies propagated on the internet. Discourses of globalization and improvements in transport and communication have also made it easy for the militants to travel faster to regions beyond their areas of origin for the purposes of spreading their messages and carrying out missions in line with terrorism objectives. Naturally, radical Islamism has grown together with global terrorism.
The changing nature of global terrorism is informed largely by conditions which afflict some segments of humanity in different places but in the same manner. Culturally, radical Islamism has been explained as a characteristic of frustration, which resulted from loss of cultural power in the wake of globalization, democratization, and the conquest of traditional systems by emergent powers. Defenders of old structures of governance and culture have recourse to radicalism as a way of expressing their distaste for emergent structures, which seek to abolish and replace the old order. Over the times, the feelings of radicalism have transformed to narrow religious extremism to take on a more sophisticated approach that include political and economic sabotage. In this sense, it becomes necessary to examine radical Islamism as an evolving global phenomenon that takes on new forms in according with emerging realities.
Brykcczynski, Paul. Radical Islam and the Nation: The Realtionship between Religion and Nationalism in the Political Thought of Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb. History of Intellectual Culture, 5 (1). <http://www.ucalgary.ca/hic/issues/vol5/4>
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