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How current political demands are shaped by people and events that are no longer present

Updated on July 24, 2012

The Past and the Future

Some events in the past, whether they are good, or devastating, cause such a blow to the world that their effects are still felt in the present. When something happens in the past that has an effect on the world of today, it is known as an event haunting the present. In this essay I will look at how the events of the past can return to haunt the globalized world of today. Political demands can be made by people or events that are no longer present, whether people of today wish for this to happen or not. The responses of people towards demands made by the past can vary hugely, from people trying to resolve problems of the past, and tie them in with the present, to people trying to create distance between the present and the past, and to move on and ignore any demands. All these things demonstrate that the past is present in today's globalized world, both politically and emotionally, and that it is very important whether people want it to be or not.

Rwandan Genocide

In 1994 the Rwandan Genocide occurred. This was the result of high tension between the Tutsi tribes and the Hutu tribes, and while it only lasted just over three months, there was a death toll of over 800,000 people, whom were massacred by the Hutu people with the aim to wipe out the presence of the Tutsi people in Rwanda all together. This event still haunts the present and even though it was world wide news, aid from western countries for the Tutsi people came far too late. The event was heavily reported on, and was discussed heavily by the United Nations, although little action was taken. The more powerful nations of the western world chose not to intervene. This is thought to be because they did not want to have a reputation as countries that interfered with other countries states of control. When it was finally admitted that there was in fact a genocide taking place in Rwanda, the UN did deploy a small Peace Keeping task force to the area.

From looking at various sources from the time, we can see how little amounts of troops other, more powerful countries than Rwanda, deployed to help resolve the conflict. Besides Australia, Canada and India, the only other countries that had sent troops to aid the country were other countries within the African continent. This lack of action in 1994, as well as other similar events that received little action from other countries, such as the genocide in Srebrenica during 1995, have placed a political demand on the more powerful countries of today, to take action, and help other countries in times of genocide in order to stop something as terrible to happen again. Due to the lack of action whilst the genocide was actually happening, as opposed to after wards when it was too late, there is now a demand for countries to act on their responsibilities and to stand up for human rights.

If we take another perspective on the Rwandan Genocide, we can see that European countries such as Belgium and France are responsible for colonizing Rwanda in the first place. While the Hutu and the Tutsi were already two distinctive groupings of people, with differences, Belgium was responsible for officially separating them, and giving them official documents dividing the two peoples. In doing this, they separated what were essentially social classes into two different races. After this, Belgium allowed some Tutsi's to be educated, and let them have more control over their country, and therefore over the Hutus. This eventually led to revolution, and to many clashes between the Hutus and the Tutsis. This event from the past haunted the future political demands that lead up to the Rwandan Genocide; the Hutu wanted to get rid of the Tutsi's as they had held more power in the country.


Throughout history there have been always slaves world wide. People forced to leave their homes, work for no pay and to be owned by another human being. In this essay the slaves that I will be looking at will be slaves brought from Africa, and forced to work in the western world. While there are unfortunately still slaves in the world today, the slaves of the African slave trade have thankfully been freed. The taking of African slaves in the past have shaped the world that we now live in, and the ghosts of this terrible time still haunt the lives of people emotionally and political to this day. For example, even still, the continent of Africa is still a mostly under developed place, due to the colonizing and raping of resources by western countries in the past. In some places in the western world there are still inequalities between people of African Descent and those of European Descent.

From looking at various sources and secondary sources, we can see where the African slaves were taken from, and to where they were forced to go. We can see that they were mostly taken from the mid parts of the African continent, places like Ghana and Nigeria, and then they were sold all over Europe and North and South America, and less so to Asia. This shows how widespread the Diaspora of African slaves is, which can give us an idea of how many lives of people in the world are still affected by their ancestor's pasts. This map gives us an idea of just how many groups of people in the world are demanding reparations, and how widespread this has shaped certain politics through out the planet.


Over the last half century, freed slaves, or descendents of past slaves, have been demanding reparations for past wrongs. This is a good example of an event in the past shaping a political demand in the present. These reparations can vary greatly in what is demanded, for example, some people merely demand that it be remembered what happened, or an official apology, whilst some demand legal action be taken through criminal trials. In order to demand a reparation, the claimants must be able to demonstrate how the event that occurred in the past is wrong, and how it still has a presence in the present world.While the demands for reparations were originally mainly in the America's and Europe, where the majority of the slaves were forced to move to, they have started to be demanded in Africa itself too. These demands can be made in many ways, such as through political groups, campaign groups and by protestors.

While there have been plenty of demands for reparations , there have been mostly negative responses to this haunting of the past. In response to these demands, there have been many answers that push to make the distance between the event of slavery in the past, and the present globalized world further and further away. This is in context with responses such as people who say that too much time has passed since the slavery laws were around to demand reparations for them, or that while it is not acceptable to have slaves now, it was back then. These responses attempt to make the event in the past less relevant in the globalized world of today.


When something in past is left unresolved, it is likely that it will return to haunt the globalized present. Through this essay we have seen how the political demand's of the past can be anything from preparing for better approaches to similar future events, such as the Rwandan Genocide, to apologizing for past wrongs, and giving reparations to those who suffered, like with the African slaves. We can see from these examples that demands that are made by histories can come back and haunt the present world in many different ways, and that the past is still a presence in today's globalized world, and can haunt in both emotional and political aspects. One major consequence of living in a globalized world, is living in a haunted one.


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    • pramodgokhale profile image

      pramodgokhale 5 years ago from Pune( India)

      I am an Indian and understand tortures by Europeans and during British regime we experienced genocides (Jalianwala Bag in 1912 in State of Punjab ,one thousand people were killed by army --order was given Punjab Governor)

      In Globalization era Europeans are trying recolonize Africa , because they run short of material.