TOK: We are not defined by what was taken -what was lost – We are defined by what we do with what remains. CARL WILKENS

 

Carl Wilkens, a humanitarian and author of the book: I’m not leaving, spoke to our TOK students about his role during the Rwandan genocide, but more specifically he came to talk about the importance of tolerance. Whilst thousands of expatriates were fleeing Rwanda to their respective countries, Carl Wilkens decided to stay. He felt that his presence could save the lives of not only his night watchman and maid, but also the lives of the orphans that remained. Between April 1994 and July 1994 Carl ventured out everyday to try to save the lives of orphans by bring them food, water and medicine to different orphanages around the city. His actions saved thousands of lives (worldoutsidemyshoes). At the end of his talk he wrote this powerful quote: We are not defined by what was taken or what was lost. We are defined by what remains -Carl Wilkens. As such, we asked out TOK students to reflect on the following Carl’s presentation, his documentary and the following questions:

BLOG QUESTIONS: To what extent do you find each ethical perspective offered in the film useful or insightful way of thinking about morality? We learned from the film that Carl stayed behind because he felt that his presence could save lives, thus begs the ethical question: Do  you have a responsibility to act on knowledge ie. are we responsible for for situations were we fail to act (poverty, famine, genocide etc) ? If you are aware of situations where you could act to improve them, are you obligated to act to the best of your ability? 

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13 comments on “TOK: We are not defined by what was taken -what was lost – We are defined by what we do with what remains. CARL WILKENS

  1. I believe that each ethical perspective that was offered in the film is very useful in the way of thinking about morality. This is because Carl Wilkens is the perfect example about how we must sometimes act on behalf of others, even if it means leaving what we love most being. One of the ethical perspective offered in the 40 minute film was the moral value of having courage. Carl Wilkens clearly demonstrated this moral value by staying behind without his family to be able to provide sufficient help and protection to the people around him.
    From this, we can deduce that to a certain extent, we have a responsibility to act upon situations where others desperately need us (property, family, or in this case, a genocide). We have a responsibility, one could say, to act on knowledge of the situation to try and come with a plan to help and assist as many people as possible. We also have a responsibility to help in situations where we fail to act (famine, poverty, sickness, etc.), I believe, because we are, to a certain extent, responsible for these things. It may not have been us personally, but a man or woman was responsible for a certain situation, therefore, I believe, it is everyone’s responsibility to try and come to a conclusion as to why this person might have started this conflict as well as helping everyone that was affected.
    I think that if we are aware of situations where we could act to improve them, we are not entirely obligated to act to the best of our ability. It depends on certain factors. One factor is if while you are helping, your loved ones are hurt or injured in any way. This could potentially affect your decision in whether you will help strangers, or save your family. In Carl Wilkens’ situation, he believed that he could help save many lives with his presence in Rwanda, but he made sure that his family evacuated the country. This is because he was clearly aware of the help he could provide in Rwanda during the genocide, and because of this, he felt like he had a certain weight or “obligation” to act to the best of his ability to provide assistance to the Tutsis and any other person being affected by this genocide.
    When there was the Haiti earthquake, my father was sent there to help since he works for the UN. Before he left, I bought a lot of candy with some money I had raised so that the orphans from the earthquake could have something sweet in the mist of all the loss and bitterness. I felt like I was, to a certain extent, obligated to act to my best ability to provide this children with the candy, because I knew that I had a lot and it was at my disposition, but these children had almost nothing left. I felt like I had a responsibility to act on my knowledge of this earthquake, the effects of it, and that I could maybe help some 100 or 200 orphans by giving them candy.
    To conclude, I believe that if we are aware and are knowledgeable of a certain situation (poverty, famine, genocide, loss, etc.) we must act to try and improve the situation, no matter how small of an act it is. It could be a single hug, or money to build a new house for someone or a group of people. As long as we do something, we are taking action and helping at least one person survive or have a better day.

  2. – To what extent do you find each ethical perspective offered in the film useful or insightful way of thinking about morality?

    Most of the people portrayed in the film displayed a different ethical perspective towards the genocide and their entire lives. Obviously, Carl’s was the one that was heard the loudest because he is (in a way) the hero of the story. He’s the one who chose to stay, putting aside his his kids, his wife and putting his life on the line. I definitely agree that Carl’s ethical perspective has a lot to do with morals, if it isn’t already fully based on morals. It was his morality that got him to stay. But what is morality? To me, in a way, it relates to the character of Kronk from “The Emperor’s New Groove”. Whenever Yzma told Kronk to do something unspeakable to Kuzco (the emperor) such as turn him into a toad or throw him down the mountain, two characters would appear on Kronk’s shoulders. One of them was an angel, which represented Kronk’s morality, and the other was a devil, which I guess could have represented his ‘bad’ or ‘rebellious’ side that he probably got from hanging out with Yzma too much. If you haven’t watched the movie, then the last couple of lines probably sound really weird, but basically the character of Kronk had advisement from a good being a bad being. In my point of view, the good being was Kronk’s morality.
    Carl is a little bit like Kronk in the sense that he always has a need or a craving to do good things or help others. For this reason, and many more, Carl chose to stay in Rwanda, where things had gotten so dangerous and out of hand that he was sometimes scared to step outside his house. It was definitely a good thing that Carl decided to stay because the amount of lives he saved and the amount of mean and women he helped is incredible. In the span of a couple of months, Carl did more good than a lot of people do in their lifetimes. For this, we should be extremely happy that Carl appealed to his morals and principles when making the choice of leaving or staying.

    – Do you have a responsibility to act on knowledge ie. are we responsible for for situations were we fail to act (poverty, famine, genocide etc) ? If you are aware of situations where you could act to improve them, are you obligated to act to the best of your ability?

    In our lives, we all carry immense responsibilities to help others and ourselves as much as we can. The responsibility to help my small brother is clearly a bigger responsibility for me than for some guy in Lithuania or Romania. He has his own family to worry about, his community and his friends. Though this is true, it doesn’t change the fact that we all have the responsibility to help each other as human beings. Our responsibilities don’t stop there. We have the responsibility to do well in school, the responsibility to look after our environment and our planet along with countless others.
    Some may take responsibilities more seriously than others, and those are the people that are more likely to end up becoming world leaders such as presidents (at least theoretically it should be this way). Of course, one can take his or her responsibilities extremely seriously and not be a president but instead a good mother or father, because let’s face it, a human life is probably the biggest responsibility there is (and we sometimes take it for granted).
    To connect to Carl’s experience and the experiences of many other people who took other’s responsibilities as their own, I do agree that we should act on knowledge and and we should definitely try to help as much as possible but when we don’t, I don’t think it counts as our responsibilities. If we all take something as our responsibilities, then it isn’t really anyone’s responsibility. When I was on vacations in Miami this winter it was the third time I had ever stepped into the United States and the previous two had also been for tourism. I was watching TV and so many of the advertisements made me feel horrible about myself. You can also tell that they’re made to do this. You can see that companies use strategies such as making you feel guilty because you might have more than others and therefore have the responsibility to help those others. I believe to some extent, it can be considered a responsibility, but in that case there is another word that comes into play called ‘priorities’. What are our priorities? What should they be? Should our priorities be helping others or helping ourselves? As we grow older, we become more knowledgeable and more prepared to answer these questions as individuals. For now, I consider my highest priorities to be helping those around me in my community, keeping my grades up and loving my family and friends. Hopefully, someday, doing something like what Carl Wilkens did will be at the top of my list.

  3. I believe that we all have the freedom to make our own decisions but we do not have the freedom to choose the consequences of our decisions. For example: Carl Wilkens, a person experienced the Genocide that occurred in Rwanda. He had the liberty to go out of the country to a safer place but he decided to stay during this tragedy and to send his wife and his children away from there. For him it was a tough decision but because of what he did he saved many lives, he caused a positive impact during the genocide.
    I believe that what he did was something really brave because we are the result of what we have done, what we are doing and what we are going to do. Carl wilkens had to leave his family and had to stay in a war that could take his life away, but he took a choice where he knew he could save the life of many people, that he could make a difference and he did.
    I think that we are capable of doing anything, that we are capable of doing great things. We can do this by taking actions, by doing something positive to our world, by helping others.
    Everyone in some point of their life has lost somebody or eventually will lose somebody and this could cause a negative impact but if you continue with your life and take advantage of it, then this will cause happiness.
    No matter what actions you take even though you might fall in your knees, what really matters is that you stand up, take the dirt of your knees and continue walking because the results are seen in the end.
    In conclusion I want to express that just like Carl Wilkens, someone who in despite he had to leave his family, he did everything to try and help the people that where living in that horrific situation. He said “I´m not leaving” and because of that decisions many people are thankful at him for saving their lives.
    we are responsible for our decisions and how we act upon those decision will affect this world either in a positive or negative way. Think before you act.

  4. The ethical perspectives which the film showed, in my opinion, are very insightful and useful ways of thinking of morality. This is because in the film, Carl Wilkens shows us that at times in which you are very near and exposed to horrible occurrences, the decisions you have to take will not be easy and will affect you in one way or another, therefore you have to take one of them and deal with the repercussions as best you can. He decides to stay in the country even after he knows that the genocide is taking place, and as a result he is affected for example by moments in which his life was in great danger and with suffering due to not having his loved ones around. Even though his family moved to a safe place, the need for a father is always present, and as a father, I think he must have felt incapable of protecting his own family due to the big distance which separated them. Even though he knew they were safe, there are always events in which he might have been needed by his family and therefore he had to take this into consideration and deal with it the best he could during the time he remained away from them in that very dangerous situation. Although he felt that to stay and attempt to save all the lives he could (which he successfully did of the children at the orphanage and his watchman and maid) was the best decision he could take, he has shown us that it surely required all of his strength and bravery to be able to part ways with his family and be away from them despite the possibilities of saving lives which his permanence in this place would bring. What Carl showed us with this decision therefore is that although decisions will always have many effects on you and others, you must take them, and work to the best of your ability to deal with the consequences and work towards making that decision justified; in his case, he justified the loneliness and danger which his decision brought him with all the lives he successfully managed to save, making it all worth his effort.
    When we are conscious of a situation, I think it is a responsibility to act on that knowledge. This is not something which you are physically obligated to do, however your conscience, in my opinion, will always lead you into doing the best you could to help the people affected by such situation. It does not necessarily have to be to the extent of Carl Wilkens, as he risked his own life in order to help the people affected by the genocide, however you do have the moral obligation which you impose on yourself to act in order to help the people, in one way or another. When someone would have been capable of acting to make a difference in the turnouts of some disastrous event and chooses not to, I think most people will not usually hold him responsible for the results of the event, however they themselves will know that they might have been able to make a difference but decided not to do anything to attempt to help (due to a variety of reasons including selfishness or fear) and they will therefore hold themselves responsible for some of the outcomes of the event. This is in most cases even worse than someone else thinking that they are responsible for something terrible, as when they themselves think they are responsible for something bad they may not ever be able to forgive themselves.

  5. I agree that ethical perspectives offered throughout the film are really useful in the way of thinking about morality. This is because a man like Carl shows various ethical perspectives which are indeed related to morality, deciding between what is good or bad. In this case Carl didn’t know if staying was the right thing to do, but his ethical perspective told him he should, that he could save many lives and he eventually did. Not only his courage but his consideration and kindness towards these people is just unbelievable. Even though they were taking all US citizens out of Rwanda and everything was set for him to leave, he decided to stay due to ethical perspectives. His sacrifice was immense, leaving behind his own family.

    Indeed we have certain responsibility to when it comes to decide wether to act in sad and terrible situations like poverty, famine and genocide etc. Its not our obligation to act in these situations but it is seen as a human responsibility to do so. We know what is happening we have the knowledge of the circumstances and we may provide various solutions in one way or another. Unfortunately people try to avoid reality and not face these situations. We can always make or do something, even if its small, that will eventually have in impact in these situation where people need help or assistance. In some way or another, we are all related to these situations, its one world and we all live in it meaning its also our problem. This connects to the idea of acting the best of your ability in these situations. In my opinion you are not obligated to act the best of your ability, but you should do something about it, because as i said before the problems involve each one of us to a certain extent. I therefore think that Carl Wilkens is an example, a hero, that showed how even though he was not obligated to stay, he took the risk of doing so. He was willing to make an impact on a problem going on, in this case, the genocide in Rwanda. He felt like he would save lives by staying and it was his choice, no one told him to stay, he did it for those people who were suffering even though he didn’t really know them. I find his courage and braveness extremely important now that he transmitted these to the people who felt hopelessness.

    In conclusion these problems are everyones problems. Even though some of us don’t actually accept the fact that we are all involved in these problems that sadly human society is facing, we are knowledgable about what is happening and in my opinion we should try to make an impact and change these problems into solutions.

    Finally I wanted to thank Carl Wilkens for coming to talk about the Rwanda genocide, I find it extremely important to hear a real life story, by a person who went through a genocide. It shows how we can make an impact on these people and how it involves saving life’s. I’m sure Carl Wilkens made an impact on these people going through the genocide and he certainly made an impact on me also.

    Eduardo Guevara

  6. The film of “I’m not leaving” we are showed useful and insightful ways of thinking about morality, like was it truly correct to kill so many because the government approved and you were saving yourself with going with the crowd? Or is it right to leave people behind when they need you the most? Many morally question raised to my mind as I watched the movie, I guess that it depends in each of the persons views and what their beliefs in right and wrong are, to truly see what was taught about morality.

    I do not believe we are responsible for every single situation that happens around the world, it is most about luck, you cannot make somebody else responsible for a dry season or because there is a lot of poverty, but I think as a human being you can help in anyway possible, giving donations, volunteering or at least trying to understand their situation. We are not superheroes that can solve everybody’s problem, if we try to we could not even solve one as they are many around you, but you could help by taking baby steps. Start with small acts of kindness, like you see a boy in the street do not give him money, the candy you have or the food you have would make him happier than ever, people believe money solves everything but usually it is not like that, any show of emotion, even the slightest smile can help somebody.

    If you know something is wrong or see that you could help in any way possible to make the situation better, you are not obliged to help but I believe it is pure humanity that wants you to act. Just like in the movie why would the man that was leading the town genocide were Carl stayed, would tell him to help? was it his humanity? or a for another reason? Through history they have been lots of random acts of humanity that is what has kept humans together, I believe that subconsciously you will someone in need, but you are never truly obliged to, in the end is your life and you decide if you want to face the consequences of your actions.

  7. Our ethical perspectives and positions depend on our morality, and our morality depends on culture, religion, and (if considered) philosophical beliefs. Carl Wilkens is an example to humanity, because he stood for what he believed, refusing to leave Rwanda, he believed that his presence there would save lives, that he would make a difference if he stayed. He gave up the logical decisions, giving up his family to save the people who worked for him, because they were of a different ‘ethnicity’, the hutu people had planned a mass murder of their sister ethnicity, tutsi.

    Carl Wilkens changed many lives by staying and giving hope to the people who thought all was lost. He defied his country’s wishes for him to return home and locked himself in Rwanda in attempt to protect the workers which lived at his house and any other who was in dire need of his help, letting his family leave for protection.

    There are situations in which we cannot be of much help, however there should always be a desire to try and improve someone else’s bad situation. It is not mandatory to act on the things that we have no control of, we needn’t think that the world’s weight is on our shoulders and we are supposed to keep it afloat, because that is not how life works, yes we depend on each other, but we are also meant to work with each other.

    However there is a difference, Carl Wilkens for example; he worked hard to keep the people to whom he owed nothing safe, he risked his life everyday to save orphanages, bringing them food and water, simply because he was devoted to saving these children, to giving them another chance of survival, even if it meant that they would be alone in this world, at least they had a chance. There is another side to things too, and this is the person who knows what happens and they do nothing to help or change the situation, not because they can’t, simply because they are too lazy or overcome with other ‘more’ important situations which forbid them from somewhat doing an act of complete and utter kindness.

    Nevertheless there is no obligation whatsoever to act upon what it is that people have done wrong or in other cases help by giving assistance or food. Willingness is the key factor for helping, you need to be willing to sacrifice certain things for the sake of humanity and your own in that case. There is a tendency to judge people based on wether they help or not, but this shouldn’t be entirely true. Yes, there are people in this world that don’t help simply because they don’t care, others which do because they care, and others who although they have nothing they care and are willing to sacrifice themselves for other people, because they also believe in second chances, just like Carl Wilkens did.

  8. We are not defined by what was taken – what we lost. We are defined by what we do with what remains. CARL WILKENS

    The quote said by Carl Wilkens in the video is basically to show how we as humans should not act after it happens but instead we should act as fast as possible before it happens, so it can be prevented. This means that as an individual we should recognise when we have to be responsible or thoughtful by first thinking on the consequences that each decision has. You can decide not to do anything and just watch something fall apart, or act before it happens and prevent it from falling, so that in this way. Sometimes, only when something really hurts us, we decide to do something about it but then it’s too late and it leave us with regret, so it’s always better to think about the future and realise how much it well help you if you decide to act before it happens. Every action has its reaction, so always think about the action you are taking, because in the future its going to affect you in a good or a bad way depending on how you decided to act.

  9. The film, “I’m Not Leaving”, a true story of the lives of Carl and Teresa Wilkens during the Rwanda genocide, was probably one of the most inspiring short films I have ever seen.

    Rwanda, a beautiful, landlocked country, found in central Africa, with a tragic and dark not-so-distant past is where Carl Wilkens lived from 1990-1994 with his family as the director of ADRA (The Adventist Development and Relief Agency). “What is genocide?” you may ask. GENOCIDE: The deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular nation or ethnic group (oxford dictionaries). And this is what occurred in Rwanda from April 7 – July 15 1994. The targeted population were the Tutsi, along with moderate Hutus, ending in the death of around 800,000 deaths. All Americans left Rwanda, but one, Carl Wilkens. He bravely stayed behind, and in the process saved and changed for the better, many lives. During the film there were many ethical issues presented. Firstly with the whole theme of mass murder of a specific ethnic group funded by the government. Such and evil and twisted idea for revenge should have never been spread like it did in 1994 and as it had during WWII as well worldwide. You must think, “these people have no morals”, and this can be true to a certain extent. What I am saying is not to justify their actions, but hopefully give reason to them because some people, as Carl Wilkens said, were doing the killing to not be killed, and to prevent their families from being murdered. Does this mean those people also have no morals? And the most complicated question to answer is “Why was he helped by a man who orchestrated these mass killings, and gave him the contacts necessary to aid these orphans?” did this man have no morals because of his horrible actions, or did he because of the help he provided during these harsh times. Despite his help, I still view this man as a murderer, but I am conflicted as to reason why he helped Carl Wilkens’ cause. On the other side of the spectrum, Carl Wilkens shows how having morality, one will always choose the right decision, and be selfless and help others. It is an interesting way to value a person, but he inspires me to become someone who because of their morals, will take the correct and ethical decision when necessary in helping better someone’s life.

    Carl Wilkens, upon finding out the dangers and threats to people’s lives decided to send off his wife and children with the US Embassy, “refusing the help from the US government” he fought to stay in Rwanda and protect the people who couldn’t leave, the people who had no option but to stay and await death. These two people had become like his family during his stay in Rwanda, and how you don’t leave family behind, Carl Wilkens couldn’t leave these two people. I want to believe that everyone who knows they can have an impact on the world, and know of how to solve the problem, will act upon this fact and help to the best of their ability. Sadly, this is not the case. We know of all the tragedies that are happening in the world, even our own small community, but either out of fear or feeling that you wouldn’t make a difference, makes people not do what they can to provide relief. I believe that every action we take in this world has an impact, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. I believe we should take responsibility for all the disasters in the world where we have control over. We have the capability to eradicate famine and poverty, yet there are circumstances that our out of our control such as genocide. As an international community, we can have a massive impact on situations, yet this does not mean we can control people’s actions. In the documentary, the lady in charge of the US Embassy regrets not staying in Rwanda, because after knowing the impact Carl Wilkens had there, and the lives he saved, she feels if the US had stayed, many more lives could have ben saved. This could be true, but one never knows what could have happened. It as a cruel fact, and one we should learn from. Always do what you can to help.

    Nevertheless, I don’t think we are necessarily obligated to act to the best of our abilities, or else everyone would be helping and doing something to provide relief. As cruel as it is, people are greedy and inconsiderate, but also sometimes people have other obligations. For example, Carl Wilkens, in my opinion is a hero, but Teresa is also worthy of recognition of bravery in another way. She had to leave her loved ones behind and take the risk of never seeing her husband ever again. We cannot call her a coward for not staying behind with Carl. She had the obligation to take care of her children, and protect them from such a terrible situation. At the same time, that does not mean she was acting to solely benefit herself. On the contrary, without her it would have been impossible, as stated by Carl Wilkens, to stay and survive the genocide. If you help in anyway that you can, even if may not seem as great in comparison to someone else, you are doing something and that can be the drop that inspires massive change.

    The organisation “World Outside My Shoes” has the main goal: To inspire and equip people to stand up against genocide, racism, and intolerance. I am glad to say with 100% certainty that, at least in me, change was inspired to stand up against these pressing issues. It made me reflect on how there is so much hatred in the world, so much negativity, death and tragedy, yet if we lose hope and don’t do what we can to make a difference, these problems will prevail and the world will become more evil and tragic than it already is. Nevertheless, Carl Wilkens and his wife Teresa have taught me that we CAN’T lose faith in humanity, there is at least one person out there who is doing what they can to save someone’s life, and that little drop of change and help can cause a tidal wave of help to others who benefit from the aid given to that one person, as happened in the case of Carl Wilkens staying in Rwanda to protect two people which ended up saving more than 400 children. In our everyday life, we can see people help others in small ways: doctors saving the life of a child, a person volunteering at a homeless shelter, our school organising a health brigade to provide children who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to lead a healthier life. Lastly, change doesn’t happen overnight, but if we need to, start of small: a hug or a simple smile to a friend, family member who you love could go a long way without you knowing. BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER. WE ARE ALL EQUAL.

    http://www.worldoutsidemyshoes.org/ please donate to this wonderful cause
    http://endgenocide.org/who-we-are/programs-and-campaigns/wilkens_fellows/about-carl-wilkens/
    http://www.history.com/topics/rwandan-genocide

    Here is a lovely video to end off, showing how far Rwanda has come and its beauty:

  10. There were several moments through out the documentary where choices were made based on morality, the clearest one we can see is the choice Carl Wilkens had to make. This decision was taken morally because he felt that he could assist, leaving his family and sticking to the people he morally could not leave. Carl Wilkens’ ethical perspective differs from the others from the embassies and even the UN, because their moral obligation had them saving themselves and escaping to safety with their families, this shows us that we all have different ethical perspectives, even the General Carl found himself working with was running a genocide and still seemed to have a moral obligation to help Carl and children of the orphanages’. This could be seen as a act of humanity or was there something else to gain? In general I think it is a poor way to look ethical perspective, it was a hard decision that verged more towards being brave, which is exactly what Carl Wilkens was. I’m sure there were many people who felt the same as Carl but did not share the same courage as he did. I believe we are responsible somehow for what occurs on our planet, we were brought here by something, someone, or somehow either way we share responsibility to help and do what we can to better the world. Taking the example of famine, there is clearly enough food to feed everyone in the world yet we still see people suffer from famine, not one person is responsible for this tragedy, but we all are. There is something that each of us could do to prevent this, in the case of Rwanda it is a lot more complicated there was no clear response to how to stop it, and i certainly could not have been done from the inside of the country. However in Carl Wilkens case his moral obligation had him stay, but also his responsibility to ARDA and to Rwanda, this kept him in Rwanda helping Children who were left orphaned by the genocide.

  11. We are free to act as we please; the way people react to things like this is unexpected, people might follow the rules and be part of the group that follows a leader, but at the same time we need to analyse what are the implications of not flooring thous who are in command?
    While thinking of the ethical implications we are not taking the other parts of the story, those who believe in those who are in control will do anything they ask; As we watch the video of genocide which Carl Wilkens shows what he did to help those in need, he did marvellous things: helped children and kept families safe. He is a hero, but he also but lost a little of himself during this, in my opinion he gave up his life to save people in need, to save children in need of food and water, and most of the help came from the man in charge of the genocide.
    The question i ask myself is “why?” why would a man who believes in the act of genocide will help ARDA to take care of children in an orphanage, is it guilt of killing all those men and women, even families and neighbourhoods of people who had friends and people who might had lovers. Was it guilt that made him help, or he thought ahead, maybe in the consequences of their acts; a man who has that much control is rarely dumb, maybe he had an escape plan helping ARDA in the saving of those in need, in forgiving the lives of a few so that when the consequences are near you can give a list of the “good” things he had done besides all the bad and terrible things that had happened.
    Carl is an inspiration to all of us, he gave up his life and family to be useful to others, to make a difference in a world full of crazy people holding grate power in their hands. He makes me think that we could all be like him, to give hope to the world and try by small actions of humility and service, not because he had to (or because Ib demands it to be done) but because we want to, to be useful and to help others has to come from the heart and not because is the right thing to do; this man chosen to stay in a country where things got complicated fast and where millions of lives where lost; any human being that those acts of kindness like these deserves all the respect and honor in the world, people like these are scarce and hard to find.
    A good song said “everyone wants to change the world, but no one wants to die” and Carl Wilkens chose to change the world even if this cost him his life. He marked a change in the history of Rwanda and as he travels the world telling his story he is changing the world, and hopefully making people realise that sometimes not being part of the group is the best thing that could happen to the world.

  12. To what extent do you find each ethical perspective offered in the film useful or insightful way of thinking about morality?
    I think that every ethical perspective offered in the film very useful because we can then see the different points of views that the people had at the time, which made them act the way they did due to what they believed was right. We also got to see why they chose those specifique actions and really understand where these people were coming from, but we also see how if they had taken a chance to just talk trough their issues, there could have been many more lives that could have been saved due to what their moral judgement was. Because we were able to see the different sides of the story, we can now better understand their moral judgements more clearly and to see if we disagree or agree with what they were saying and doing. Morals often vary with the different cultures that it is presented in due to how people think differently and what their judgement of right and wrong are, to have the different view points of the different backgrounds for the genocide is interesting because we can see how the government thought was a good idea to cleans the population of what they perceived was wrong. For them it was not morally wrong to kill thousands of people each week to then reach 1 million casualties since it was the right thing to do in their eyes. We then see the different view points of one of the Americans who stayed and to have his viewpoint is very insightful since his view is not as biased as the government since he did not discriminate against anyone and so his view point gives us an outsiders view of the situation. In the end as sad and distressing as it was, we can really see how humanity has yet to learn from their mistakes and to see how people are so blinded by hatred they fail to see that we are all the same on some level. One can only hope that there comes a day where the mention of genocide is foreign and that it becomes just a distant memory.
    Do you have a responsibility to act on knowledge ie. are we responsible for for situations were we fail to act (poverty, famine, genocide etc) ? If you are aware of situations where you could act to improve them, are you obligated to act to the best of your ability?

    I believe that we have an immense responsibility to act when we know a situation is going on since we are aware of it’s presence and so if we choose to ignore it, we fail to help the people in need. We do hold a responsibility to act when a situation presents itself but at the same time, in some situations we don’t have much power to do much but we do hold a responsibility to spread the word and the raise awareness so that people that do have the ability to help have the chance. There are many things and ways we can help situations like genocide and that is to make people aware that it is going on since many people did not know, and still do not know what happened in Rwanda. There are always options and ways for people to help desperate situations. If we fail to act when we know we could have made a difference then yes we are very much responsible for the outcome of the situation since we did not act to the best of our abilities and we are responsible for what little bits we know we can do to help. For example we have the health brigade on Saturday the 21st of February and all of year 12 is invited to go, now if someone were to not go because they wanted to sleep in or they just plainly did not want to go, then they are responsible for the actions they did not take since they knew it was happening and they did not act too improve the situation. We all have the power to change the world, but whether we take those actions or not, is up to us.

  13. In my opinion, every citizen should contribute a little bit in social and economic issues. It is not a lot to ask from the people in upper class or middle class to give some small amount of money or some food to the poor.

    However I do not think that people can contribute to all global issues or simple dilemmas because there are some situations are not under your control. You can act in certain situations when you feel like your contribution can make a difference. People will act where not only they feel strongly about certain issues that are directly linked to the situation, but also where their integrity or beliefs are affected.

    There is way too many situations in the world where you could be drawn to act to improve the situation, but a person cannot just improve every single bad situation happening around them. We have here the example of the genocide in Rwanda on April 6 1994. When it happened, it became one of the most tragic events of the century. That day, 1994, 800,000 men, women, and children died, it is almost considered as the three quarters of the Tutsi population. At the same time, thousands of Hutu were murdered because they opposed the killing campaign and the forces directing it. Carl Wilkens was one of the very few Americans that lived in Rwanda at the time. He used to be a missionary with the Seventh Day Adventist Church. When the genocide happened, Carl Wilkens wanted to stay in the hope to help the orphans that lived next to his house. He told his family that he wanted to stay because he thought he could make the situation better. He tried to call help from the United Nations but they did not come. This shows that even in the situations that we are most miserably wanting to help, we are not always capable.

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