A Close Look at Genocide: Rwanda

If you're feeling dark about the state of humanity based on killings in news in the USA of late, you might benefit from the perspective of understanding exactly how far down the pit of darkness goes.

The full tour of the darkness of humanity needs to include a look at the Rwandan Genocide. According to Wikipedia:

The Rwandan genocide, known officially as the genocide against the Tutsi,[2] was a genocidal mass slaughter of Tutsi in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority government. An estimated 500,000–1,000,000 Rwandans were killed during the 100-day period from April 7 to mid-July 1994,[1] constituting as many as 70% of the Tutsi and 20% of Rwanda's total population.

But Wikipedia doesn't set the atmosphere quite right. It's a bit too sterile. You're looking at things from too far a distance. For a view from the ground, I recommend Episide 16 of the Jocko podcast, "Machete Season" in which he reads excerpts from a book with the same title.

I recommend that you do this and I'll use Jocko's own words to make the case:

  • ...something that I know: there is evil in the world, there is darkness, and it exists and it is real. And it comes from us. It's human. It is people. WE... are evil. It wasn't a monster that murdered all those people: those men, and those women, and those children, and those babies. It wasn't an animal or some force of nature like a tornado or a hurricane or a tsunami. And it wasn't Satan, and it wasn't some mysterious evil spirit. It was us. And that is downright horrifying.
  • But there is a counter to that. There is a dichotomy to that. And that is the fact that while we are the evil in this world... WE... are also the good. We are the light that counters this darkness.
  • We all have the capacity... all of us do in some way... maybe not directly. Maybe not face-to-face with evil. But we can help. All of us can help
  • The message that I take away from all of this is that... WE need to focus on what good we can do to help people. Who can we help get better? Who can we help improve their station in life? What threatened person can we defend? What oppressed person can we free? What fellow human being can we remove from the grip of fear?
  • "What person in the world can we take from the darkness out into the light?" That's the question and the answer that I brought away from this.

It comes down to this: "You can't appreciate the light if you don't understand the darkness."

We can have a look at the darkness. We can appreciate the light around us. And we can focus. And we can ask ourselves how can we bring our brothers and sisters out into the light.

I journey through the darkness to fully understand just how light it is. That's my case for checking out the Rwandan Genocide.


This is a Youtube video of the podcast reading. It's only the first hour or so of the video. There's some Q&A stuff in the second half.

Jocko Podcast 16 - With Echo Charles | Machete Season - YouTube