The Age of Genocide RWANDA
Pre-colonial Ethnic Divisions? • Arrival of the Tutsi and Hutu in Rwanda • Share language, religion, and cohabitate • Some physical differences: • height, skin color, skull shape • Tutsis were a minority of the population, mostly herders • Majority Hutus were mostly croppers • When Kings distributed the land, they gave it the to Tutsis who charged Hutus to live and work on the land • Division was occupationally defined based on size of cattle herds. “Tutsi feudalism”- cattle-work exchange
Colonial Rwanda: Fixing Ethnic Difference • Indirect rule • Ethnic identification cards • Empowered Tutsi to rule Hutu majority • Given weapons and support for rule • Incorporation of North-West Rwanda into Tutsi rule • Official discourse that viewed Tutsi as more intelligent, reliable and hardworking; they were at the top of the social ladder (Tutsi, Hutu, Twa) • Administration and army officer positions reserved for Tutsi
Decolonization and the “Social Revolution” • Decolonization by European colonizers led to the rise of Hutu elites against the existing Tutsi oligarchy. • Ideology of the “Social Revolution”: • Rwanda belongs to the Hutu, its original inhabitants, who had been brutally subjugated for centuries by the foreign masters, the Tutsi. • In 1959, the Hutu wrestled power away from their masters and installed a true democracy. • Discourse of democracy had a powerful legitimizing affect on international community
Beginning of a Social Revolution • Hutus begin to form a a nationalist party (Parmahutu) to fight for their rights in 1959 • Began killings of Tutsi (20,000 the first year) • 200,000 Tutsi refugees flee border and from the Rwanda Patriotic Front • Rwanda gains its independence from Belgium in 1961
Social Revolution: Systematic Discrimination • Quota system to limit Tutsi access to higher education and state jobs. • Continuation of ethnic ID cards. • Army, diplomatic service and parliamentary positions reserved for Hutu
The Rwandan Civil War • Conflict lasting from 1990-1993+ between the government of President Habyarimana (Hutu) and the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (Tutsi group in other country) • FPR (Rwandese Patriotic Front), comprised predominantly of Tutsi refugees, pushed into Uganda following post-independence ethnic conflict. • Frustration among Hutu in south with lack of power within regime • Tutsis were trying to take back the power in Rwanda Habyarimana
Threats to Regime in 1990s • International pressure grew on Habyarimana to democratize, power share with FPR. • The Arusha Accords (peace agreement) were signed, but Habyarimana (Hutu President) did not cede power to any other political party; this was seen as a direct threat to the continuation of Hutu rule in Rwanda • In order to deflectinternal and external threats to power, Rwandan regime initiated program of vilification (slander) of Tutsi • Mobs organized by government officials to attack Tutsi • Political rallies and media vilified Tutsi • Tutsi described as an “enemy within” – Cockroaches • This diverted people’s attention from their own subjugation and impoverishment by the government and toward an “external” threat.
The Action of… • Two extremist Hutu militias: • The Interahamwe • “Those who stand together" or "those who work together" or "those who fight together” • A Hutu paramilitary organization • Backed by the Hutu Government • Impuzamugambi (Im-huza-mugambi) • "Those who have the same goal" or "Those who have a single goal" • Hutu militia
The Catalyst • On April 6, 1994, the airplane carrying Rwandan President Habyarimana and the Hutu president of Burundi was shot down as it prepared to land in Kigali • Both presidents died when the plane crashed. • Responsibility for the attack is disputed, with both the RPF and Hutu extremists being blamed • In spite of disagreements about the identities of its perpetrators, the attack on the plane is to many observers the catalyst for the genocide
The Beginnings of Genocide • National radio urged people to stay in their homes • The government-funded station RTLM broadcast slanderous attacks against Tutsis and Hutu moderates • Hundreds of roadblocks were set up by the militia around the country • Lieutenant-General Dallaire of the UN Peacekeeping Force and UNAMIR, escorting Tutsis in Kigali, were unable to do anything as Hutus kept escalating the violence and even started targeting the peacekeepers themselves
The Killings • Killed in their villages or in towns, often by their neighbours and fellow villagers • Militia members typically murdered their victims by hacking them with machetes, although some army units used rifles • The victims were often hiding in churches and school buildings, where Hutu gangs massacred them • Ordinary citizens were called on by local officials and government-sponsored radio to kill their neighbours and those who refused to kill were often killed themselves • Everyone killed so they weren’t killed themselves: • Mayors • Priests • EVERYONE
Number Killed • Unlike Nazis they didn’t keep record • The RPF government has stated that 1,071,000 were killed, 10% of which were Hutu (determined in February 2008) • United Nations lists the toll as 800,000 • African Rights estimates the number as "around 750,000," • Human Rights Watch states that it was "at least 500,000
Issues Post-Genocide • Approximately two million Hutu refugees, most of whom were participants in the genocide and with anticipation of Tutsi retaliation, fled from Rwanda, to Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) • Thousands of them died in epidemics of diseases common to the squalor of refugee camps, such as cholera and dysentery • These are the refugee camps that were aided by the UN and the US • The refugees have fueled wars in Uganda, Burundi, and the DRC • - Joseph Kony, for example
Questions Still Exist • Why didn’t the US do anything? • Why didn’t the UN listen to Daillaire? • How could people kill their neighbors? • How many actually died? • How can we prevent this from happening again?