The Rwandan Genocide 1994
History of the Conflict • BELGIUM, a small European country, took over Rwanda. -Belgians decided who would be Tutsi [TOOT see] and who would be Hutu [Who Too] • When kings distributed the land, they gave it the to Tutsis who charged Hutus to live and work on the land
Evolution of Titles • Originally an ethnic distinction • Everyone who wasn’t Tutsi is labeled Hutu • Became an economic status • Gaining wealth meant losing “Hutuness” • When the Belgians gained the land as part of the Treaty of Versailles in 1918, they used the distinction to “divide and rule” • Issued passcards to Rwandans • Gave preferential treatment to Tutsis (“with the long nose”) • Hutu’s had “blunt nose”
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
What we have so far… • Tutsi minority is ruling • Hutus have formed groups to fight against the injustice • Tutsi refugees have formed groups in other countries
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) • Tutsis were trying to take back the power in Rwanda • Peace agreements were signed, but Habyarimana (Hutu President) doesn’t cede power to any other political party Habyarimana
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 • "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 vitriolic 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 neighbors 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 neighbors 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) • Gourevitch agrees with an estimate of one million • 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
And what happened to Valentina? • At 13, she saw her entire family shot or stabbed to death. • She hid with other orphans beneath corpses, starving and away from Hutus and soldiers. • She threw rocks at dogs that came to eat the bodies. • She became very thin and close to death.
Did she live? • Her hand was chopped off at the fingers. • When rescuers found her, she looked like a skeleton. • Now she lives in a refugee camp. She may never return to Rwanda. She is 33 now.
Could this have been avoided? • This is General Romeo Dallaire who commanded troops for the United Nations • He is a Canadian general • An informant told him what the Hutu government was planning to do to the Tutsis. Dallaire asked the UN for soldiers to stop it, but the UN said no.
Dallaire said… • Did anybody intervene? In '94, I needed 5000 soldiers to stop the genocide before even less than ten days. Only the developed nations could do that. And when they agreed in the Security Council to give me 5000 troops, not one developed country provided me with troops.
There were heroes… • Here is Paul Rusesabagina, the manager of a 4-star hotel in Rwanda. • He saved 1,268 Tutsis by smuggling them out of Rwanda
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
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?