Failure of the Species

If Auschwitz is constitutive for >Species Shame – i.e. if, now that it has proven possible for such a thing as Auschwitz to occur, human beings would need, were we ever to encounter an extra-terrestrial intelligence informed about our species’ history, to feel deeply ashamed about belonging to this latter – it is surely also the case that no one, even if they had formerly done so, can, after the terrible genocide perpetrated in Rwanda, any longer reasonably cherish the hope that the era of our species’ catastrophically failing to live up to its own moral standards might now be over. There is, then, every reason to maintain that our species is simply a failed project. Who would wish to contribute, through procreation, to the continued existence of a species which has proven a failure in this way? Roméo Dallaire has left us, in the form of his book “Shake Hands with the Devil”, an extensive account of what was, to quote the book’s sub-title “the failure of humanity in Rwanda”. Dallaire writes: “Rwanda was a warning to us all of what lies in store if we continue to ignore human rights, human security and abject poverty…From the Rwandan exodus in 1994 until genocide broke out once again in 2003, it has been estimated that four million human beings have died in the Congo and the Great Lakes region and, until very recently, the world did nothing except to send an undermanned and poorly resourced peacekeeping mission. Five times the number murdered in Rwanda in 1994 have died…” (Roméo Dallaire, Shake Hands with the Devil)

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