Joel Mowbray

Kofi?s caution could not be chalked up to doubts about the accuracy of the warning.  The UN secretary general?s personal representative investigated the matter.  Despite his well-documented pro-Hutu leanings, he wrote back to the UN that he had ?total, repeat total confidence in the veracity and true ambitions of the informant.?

In other words, not only did Kofi and the UN have a Hutu informant who gave them advance notice of the genocide, but they were able to verify the veracity of that informant.  Still Kofi insisted on doing nothing.

Once the slaughter started and tens of thousands had been murdered, Kofi acted?just not the right way.  To make sure that Gen. Dallaire?s men were not trying to stop the genocide, he instructed the commander in Rwanda to ?make every effort not to compromise your impartiality or to act beyond your mandate.?  Kofi?s advocacy for ?impartiality? no doubt helped lead the Security Council to slash the already small peacekeeping contingent almost 90%.

Although Kofi never appeared on-screen, the fruits of his inaction could be seen throughout Hotel Rwanda.  When the UN officer, played by Nick Nolte, tells the press before the genocide, ?We?re here as peacekeepers, not peacemakers,? you can snicker as you imagine Kofi writing that line while enjoying a fine glass of red wine.

But when the tragedy is unfolding and the UN peacekeepers can do nothing but shout, ?Don?t shoot,? amusement turns to disgust.  And watching almost all the Western soldiers and UN peacekeepers pull out once it?s realized that they?re needed more than ever, profound sadness slowly captures your entire body.  Resisting crying at this point is fruitless.

In the movie, the pullout of the Western soldiers and UN peacekeepers is attributed to ?the West? thinking of Rwandans as ?dirt.?  Again and again the movie stressed that ?the West? didn?t care about the Tutsis of Rwanda, which is sadly true. 

But sadder still is that neither did their fellow African, Kofi Annan.

Joel Mowbray

Joel Mowbray, who got his start with, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.

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