Holocaust: Rwandan Genocide and Violence Essay examples

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This article approaches Darfur and Rwanda with these comparative questions and objectives in mind. The central purpose is to analyze similarities and differences between the two cases in order to generate theoretical and practical inferences. The article does not make normative claims about differences between the cases. I argue below that violence in Rwanda was more intense and more exterminatory than it has been in Darfur. The point is not that Rwanda’s violence was worse than Darfur’s, nor is it that Rwanda’s victims suffered more than Darfur’s victims. From a survivor’s perspective, violence is violence; the loss of a family member is the loss of a family member. But from a comparative analytical perspective, empirical differences (and similarities) are important to note because they can generate insights about the causal dynamics of mass violence. This article focuses only on two cases, and hence the theoretical inferences have limited generalizability. Nonetheless, because the analogy between Rwanda and Darfur is often made and because comparative analysis can yield valuable insights, I pursue it here.
Broadly, the article is divided into two sections, each with several subsections. In the first main section, I discuss the dynamics of genocide in both cases, addressing the primary patterns of violence in Darfur and in Rwanda as well as common causal factors in both cases. I then make some theoretical observations based on the analysis, noting both similarities and differences. In the second main section, I discuss the international response to genocide in both cases. Here I focus on three main areas: the debate over whether to use the label ‘‘genocide’’ in both cases; the formation (or lack thereof) of a domestic constituency in the United States calling for prevention; and, finally, international obstacles to prevention.
Dynamics of Genocide in Darfur and Rwanda
Patterns of Violence
One nexus of comparison between the two cases concerns intensity of violence, in particular the rate of killing (that is, the number of deaths over time). As of this writing in April 2006, large-scale attacks on civilian populations in Darfur have been continuing for three years, with some variation over time. Judging from existing data, it appears that attacks surged in late 2003 and early 2004, declining in early 2005.
The violence also appears concentrated in some parts of Darfur but not in others.1
The number of deaths in this period is the subject of some controversy. Some estimate between 63,000 and 140,000 violence-related civilian deaths, while others put the number at 400,000 (Darfur’s population before the violence began was about 6.5 million). The low estimate comes from a 2005 US State Department report. The high estimate comes from a 2005 report issued by the Coalition for International Justice
(CIJ); the report was based on research conducted in conjunction with other scholars.2
The primary reasons for the divergent estimates in these reports relate to assumptions about the constancy of violence over time, about the distribution of violence across regions in Darfur, and about whether existing survey data are representative.
By contrast, the Rwandan genocide took place during the 100-day period from 6
April to 17 July 1994. There was variation in when violence started in different regions, but ultimately genocidal violence occurred in almost every part of the country under government control. Most murders took place during the first five weeks of the genocide. Detailed data from one region (Kibuye Prefecture) indicate that two weeks into the genocide nearly 80% of all murders had already taken place.3
Estimates of the number killed in Rwanda range from 500,000 to one million. The difference in the estimates depends principally on how many Tutsis are said to have lived in Rwanda
Genocide Studies and Prevention 1:1 July 2006
42before the genocide. Thus, even a low estimate of the…