Wednesday, February 6, 2013
No one wanted this. It was devastating to all. Pictures from inner Rwanda were getting out. People were seeing them. It was no longer a secret. It was now known world wide. There was no hiding it. Of course people wanted this devastating tragedy to stop. Although, they themselves, and their country had to stay protected. Hutu were often killed by their peers if they ever had the nerve to stick up for a Tutsi. After all, they couldn't be know as traders, now could they? It was an awful thing. “Former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali told the PBS news program "Frontline": "The failure of Rwanda is 10 times greater than the failure of Yugoslavia. Because in Yugoslavia the international community was interested, was involved. In Rwanda nobody was interested."” (Stated in an article on history.com)
Unfortunately, in this horrific event, the victims were often innocent citizens. Killed only due to the fact that they were from the Tutsi tribe. They had done nothing wrong as a person, or even as people. This is considered a hate crime. There was no reason. Other than the fact they belonged to a certain group/race. When I was reading, I remember reading a part saying citizens were killing other citizens. Unlike the German Holocaust, the citizens were the soldiers. The Germans tried to keep it from the citizens, and here the Hutu are the ones doing the killing. It must have felt like anarchy. I can only imagine the children, and how frightened they were for three whole months. Living in terror, not knowing if today was going to be your last, if you would see your mother tomorrow, or if you would even ever be a normal child again. Living in terror, it’s not even living. Everyone killing everyone, for no specific reason at all. My heart throbs for the families, and the pain of losing your loved ones for no apparent reason. The killings began in Rwanda's capital city of Kigali. The Hutu set up road blocks checking all I.D’s and killing all Tutsi. Usually this was done with clubs, machetes, or even knives. Due to the I.D cards, the Hutus had the names and addresses of all Tutsi living in Rwanda. They easily went door to door killing all Tutsi. There was nothing they could do about it. Hutu’s who stuck up of Tutsi’s were killed also. They would stop at nothing, nor did they stop. That is, until the RPF came in the picture and took over Rwanda. Even then, nothing could ever take back, or bring back the innocent people who were killed.
Juvéna Habyarimana's NRMD party played a key role in organizing this genocide. There were no specific leaders for this horrific genocide, but it was what the majority of the Hutu population wanted. In this time, they had no real government. Actually, neither one of them did. It was just one tribe against another. That’s all they knew. They had been fighting for decades over minor things. The Hutu couldn't put up with the Tutsi anymore, they were favored more by Belgium (Belgium had in this point in time taken over Rwanda), even though there were 8 TIMES more Hutu that Tutsi. It all started when their president was killed. That was their breaking point. This, in my perspective, would not have happened if their president (Juvénal Habyarimana) had not been killed. This outburst happened because their leader was gone. So, naturally, they had no one to “keep them in check”. They were angry, agitated, and scared. I think it was natural reaction for them to start war. (I am in no way, shape, or form saying this is okay, or the correct way to have handled the situation.) I am against war. It solves nothing.After all, in approximately 100 days 800,000 Tutsi were slaughtered. And what good came from that? It didn't solve the problems. In retrospect, it may have even created more problems. In the end, the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) took over Rwanda. The war was over. Only after hundreds of thousands of people were murdered.
The genocide happened in Rwanda, which is located in Central Africa. Rwanda had the highest population density in Africa. 85% of the Rwanda population was Hutu. The other 15% was Tutsi, and a small number of Twa (who were the original habitants in Rwanda). The ratio of Hutu to Tutsi was 8-1. The Rwandan genocide was caused by a power struggle between the two dominant tribes in both Rwanda and Burundi (the Hutu and the Tutsi). This genocide lasted for 3 months. It started in April 1994, and ended in July 1994. After WWI, Rwanda came under the league of nations mandate of Belgium. The Belgians favored the Tutsi, rather than the Hutu. This caused tension to build, which eventually added up and turned into violence even before Rwanda had gained it's independence. In 1959 there was a Hutu revolution, it forced 300,000+ Tutsi to leave the country. On July 1, 1962 Rwanda gained it’s independence from Belgium. In 1988 the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) was formed in Uganda. In 1990 The RPF invade Rwanda, starting a civil war. In 1991, Rwanda formed a new constitution. In it, it allowed multiple political parties. In August 1993, the government signed a peace treaty with RPF. but on April 6, 1994 the President of Rwanda (Juvénal Habyarimana) was killed when his plane was shot from the sky. This was the beginning pf the genocide. April 7 was the official start. The Hutu started killing their political opponents The western media described the genocide as “A spontaneous, uncontrollable, outpouring of ethic hatred which, as such, could not be stopped”. This sounds like utter chaos. It has also been ranked one of the 20th bloodiest 20th century genocides. Finally, all this chaos and terror ended in mid July (3 months later) when the RPF took all control of Rwanda.
Monday, January 28, 2013
This is a quick video of the background of the Rwandan genocide. It helped me come to comprehend the situation.