William Norman Grigg on Civilian Disarmament and Genocide



Throughout history, would-be tyrants have sought to disarm their subjects, and often this disarmament was a prelude to mass murder. Such was the case in Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, and Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge Communists. Literally tens of millions of human beings have learned — too late — that civilian disarmament is often a prelude to genocide.

In its propaganda film Armed to the Teeth, the UN insists civilian disarmament is necessary to prevent tragedies like the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which as many as 1.1 million people were slaughtered in a 103-day period. But the truth is that the Rwandan tragedy illustrates the fatal consequences of the UN’s prescription for human security.

Most of the genocide victims belonged to the Tutsi ethnic group. At the time of the massacre, the Rwandan government was controlled by the Hutu ethnic group, who had been involved in a civil war with the Tutsis. After the UN arranged a cease-fire, it sent a peacekeeping force to Rwanda to help the government carry out an arms collection program, which was an extension of the country’s existing anti-gun policies. Over several decades, the civilian population in Rwanda had already been largely disarmed.

The presence of UN troops was intended to reassure the disarmed Tutsis that no harm would befall them. “We saw all these blue helmets,” recalled one survivor of the genocide, “and we [thought] that even if Hutus start to attack us the three thousand men of lithe UN mission] would be enough.” Even though General Romeo Dallaire, who commanded the UN force, learned in early 1994 of the Rwandan government’s genocidal plans, the Tutsis’ confidence in the UN proved to be their death warrant.

Dallaire learned from an informant that the Tutsis were being “registered” for slaughter, and that armed killing squads were being organized. He requested permission from the civilian head of UN peacekeeping operations to raid the arms caches being assembled by the killing squads in order to prevent the slaughter.

As UN-linked arms control researchers Jeffrey Boutwell and Michael T. Mare report, “Before the killing began, the Hutu-dominated government had distributed automatic rifles and hand grenades to official militias and paramilitary gangs. It was this firepower that made the genocide possible.” More specifically, it was the government’s monopoly on firepower that made the genocide possible, as the anguished testimony of a Rwandan survivor makes clear. “They take lithe victims] from this building, this church,” cried refugee Jeanne Niwemutesi to the New York Times as the massacres were underway. “They have guns and knives and machetes, the people from the Government party, so we can’t fight back. We don’t have arms.”

General Dallaire’s plan had been to disarm the government-organized killing squads before the massacre could commence. But Dallaire’s superior vetoed this plan and told him to share his information with the Rwandan government — the same government that was planning the genocide. Subsequent investigations described that decision as a “green light” for genocide.

The official who gave that green light is Kofi Annan — who, in his current role as secretary-general, is escalating the UN’s campaign against civilian firearms ownership.

The right to bear arms is the right that protects all others — and the UN is the most powerful enemy of that right. If it succeeds in disarming Americans, the ability to resist tyranny will be eroded, and the stage will be set for a reign of terror unlike any in American history.


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