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The ignorant bystander?Britain and the Rwandan genocide of 1994$
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Dean J. White

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719095238

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719095238.001.0001

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The indifferent bystander?

The indifferent bystander?

(p.71) 3 The indifferent bystander?
The ignorant bystander?

Dean J. White

Manchester University Press

This chapter argues that by early May the British political elite and media were aware that mass killing was underway in Rwanda, and then goes on to question why there was still little response. The chapter explores media coverage, Parliamentary debate and public opinion in May and June 1994. Specific areas that the chapter concentrates on include: the media’s tendancy to fall back onto cliché when reporting Africa and how this impacts public understanding; the British response to the French peacekeeping mission sent to Rwanda (Operation Turquoise); disagreements between the US and UK at the UN Security Council about how best to respond to the crisis; and then Britain’s contribution to the new peacekeeping force (UNAMIR II). When assessing the Parliamentary response, the chapter also includes a more general review of Parliament’s role and ability to shape foreign policy. The chapter demonstrates that in this period the media, Government and public still understood the crisis as a civil war and this effected the response.

Keywords:   UNAMIR II, Operation Turquoise, Parliament, David Hannay

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