by Mark Malloch-Brown, ‘Financial Times,’ London, April 3, 2014
When I moved from the development side of the UN to its political operations as Mr Annan’s deputy, the shadow of Rwanda came with me. If there was an abiding lesson for me of what had happened earlier in Rwanda, it was that UN officials had sleepwalked into catastrophe. In vain, UN colleagues in the field called the alarm. Their words fell on the deaf ears of officials in the rut of UN routine. When my turn came to be the New York point person for UN operations in difficult places I made my colleagues wear green wrist bands bearing the words “Never Again”. Whether it was Darfur or elsewhere we sought to ensure that there would not be another Rwanda.
Yet events in Sri Lanka five years ago or in the Central African Republic today show that genocide has not been consigned to history. The Rwandan genocide may have once tugged at our conscience but the debate since over its causes and consequences – and over the resulting doctrines of intervention – has blurred our outrage. We and Rwandans need to demand of leaders everywhere: Never Again. I still wear my wrist band.