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Causes of rwanda genocide-a lesson for african countries

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by charndams, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. c

    charndams JF-Expert Member

    Jun 30, 2011
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    Racial and ethnic hate Rwanda was part of German East Africa from 1894 until the end of World War I. Belgian colonists arrived after World War 1 and ruled Rwanda through Tutsi monarchs. The Belgians regarded the Tutsi as superior to the Hutu and for two decades the Tutsi were provided with better jobs and education than their Hutu counterparts. This provoked a resentful inferiority complex in the Hutu population. In 1933-34 the Belgians instituted an identity card system identifying the ethnicity of every person. Any man with 10 cows or more were Tutsi and those with less than 10 were Hutu. Afterwards colonialist ensured that a person's ethnicity was determined by their fathers, regardless of their mother's ethnicity. Before the colonial rule, Tutsi and Hutu lived together fairly peacefully. They lived in the same areas, intermarried, spoke the same language and observed many of the same traditions.

    In 1959, Hutu resentment of the Tutsi had come to a breaking point. There were a series of riots and more than 20,000 Tutsi were killed. Many Tutsi fled to Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda leaving land and livestock which was taken over by the Hutus. On July 1, 1962 the Belgians relinquished their power and Rwanda became independent. The Hutu took over and between December, 1963 and January 1964 all Tutsi politicians were murdered.

    In 1961 Gregoire Kayibanda was elected president-designate of Rwanda. In July 1973, Major Juvenal Habyarimana staged a coup and declared himself president of the Second Republic. He eliminated Kayibanda and his supporters. Rwanda became a dictatorship. Tutsi were segregated in the private sector, identity cards were still required and army members were forbidden to marry anyone who was Tutsi.

    Competition for land
    With the population of Rwanda growing rapidly, there became a shortage of food and land. By 1993 Rwanda was in crisis as drought. Starvation was rampant in several areas of the country. The youth of Rwanda could not marry without a house or job and there was no hope for the future. Economic decline and corruption within the government was destroying Rwanda.

    The Hutu and Tutsi became competitors for land. The Hutu needed land to farm and the Tutsi needed land for their cattle to graze. During the early 1960s to 1973, the Hutu had taken over the land that had belonged to the Tutsis that fled. The government used this as an example that the Hutu would have all the land they needed for food production if they could just get rid of the Tutsi.


    Radio broadcasts by the Hutu extremists began telling of the coming genocide and the rule of the Hutus. On April 6, 1994 President Habyarimana's plane was shot down by a missile and crashed, killing all those on board. The Tutsis took the blame. Immediately after the plane went down the call to "cut down the tall trees" went out on the radio and the killing began. This had been the code decided on by the Hutu extremists as a sign to begin the genocide. Within an hour, Hutu militiamen (Interahamwe) had set up road blocks to check out identity cards. Those identified as Tutsi, human rights activists or members of opposition parties were murdered. Radio Milles Collines called for revenge against the Tutsis for Habyarimana's death. The first waves of murders were Tutsi civilians living near the airport and Hutu political opponents.

    Religious doctrine

    Most of Rwanda's population was Catholic. Those in power in the church condemned birth control regardless of obvious overpopulation. Catholic pro-life radicals raided pharmacies and clinics and destroyed condoms. The Hutu population was also told that Tutsis and those who supported them were demons. Those who destroyed the Tutsi people were given material rewards such as cattle. Taking part in the murders could lead to prestigious positions and material goods. This lead to neighbor killing neighbor and family killing family.

    European involvement

    Between 1973 and 1990 there was relative peace in Rwanda as long as the Tutsis who lived there did not make too much noise or fight for their rights but the peace did not mean there was freedom. Due to European involvement again in 1990 there was a call for changes in African governments including Rwanda.

    A group of Tutsis who had been displaced from Rwanda formed a group called Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) to attempt to go back into Rwanda and overthrow the government. This group professed the desire for equality in Rwanda.

    The Belgians withdrew from Rwanda but the French decided to stay. The French supported Habyarimana as he began arresting and even killing those that came against his government while the USA supported the RPF.

    There was a gathering of the leaders of Rwanda in Tanzania and a cease-fire was agreed upon in 1992. But the agreement was not honored. The Hutu led group continued to harass and kill Tutsis. In early 1993 the Tutsi led group, RPF, broke the cease fire and was accused by the French of aggression even though it was the Hutu led government that would not honor the agreement formed the year prior in Tanzania.

    -please feel free to contribute on other factors that contributed to the genocide and the lessons African countries need to learn from Rwanda genocide. support your argument with any literature if possible