30 April 2013
Who is to Blame?
When most people think of Rwanda today, they think of the 1994 genocide. Rwanda and Rwandans aren’t just defined by the genocide, but understandably most people remember the genocide best. Rwanda is a small country in central Africa. In the article “ Rwanda 1994” states Rwanda has been called “ a tropical Switzerland in the heart of Africa (1). There are two main ethnic groups in Rwanda the Hutu and the Tutsi. The Hutu outnumber the Tutsi. For 600 years, the two ethnicities shared the same language, culture, and patriotism. Once the Belgian colonists moved into Rwanda, they chose the Tutsi to be landowners, because they were tall and that made them look better and more privileged than the Hutu. This made some Tutsi behave like they were mightier than the Hutu, who were treated like peasants. This was the start of the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic divide. Three years before their independence from Belgium, Hutus rebelled. By 1959, Hutu seized power and removed the Tutsi from power and took their land. Many Tutsis fled Rwanda to bordering nations and the Tutsi that stayed mostly, because of family and/or intermarriage. The runaway Tutsi children formed the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) where they trained as soldiers. In 1990, the RPF attacked and civil war began. The civil war, economic issues, issues within the ethnicities led to April 1994 genocide an estimated 800,00 Tutsi and moderate Hutu were killed (1). How can the world turn a blind-eye to Rwanda? How can the world leaders not put more effort into stopping the mass killing of human beings? After one hundred days, who is to blame for the genocide that occurred in Rwanda?
Genocide is the deliberate killing of large groups of people. Genocide is considered the worst crime in the world. So how did this happen in a small country in central Africa? The Hutu were completely against any Tutsi involvement in the government. On April 6, 1994, a plane carrying Rwanda’s president was shot down. This event was what the Hutu hoped for their plans to go into action. The Tutsi were accused of assassinating the president, and Hutu citizens were told, by radio, and by word of mouth, that is was their duty to wipeout the Tutsi husbands, wives, and children. But first, the Hutu moderates who didn’t want to kill the Tutsi had to be killed first. This is the start of the genocide. Based on the “ World Without Genocide” article, the genocide was carried out mostly by hand often using machetes and clubs. There were men who were trained to kill they called themselves Interahamwe (‘those who fight together’). Interahamwa are remembered today as the driving force behind the genocide. Interahamwa was made up of a group of young men who were brainwashed by the “ Hutu Power” (3). Every part of Rwanda had trained killers that were there to kill any Tutsi no questions asked. The areas where Interahamwe faced opposition, the Army was there for back up with manpower and weapons. In the article “Rwanda 1994” explained, the Rwandan government was made up of Hutu politicians, officials, intellectuals and professional soldiers who bribed the Interahamwa to do the mass killings. The local officials would round up all the Tutsi and find a place for them to all die together. The most unsettling thing about the genocide was that the Tutsi were being killed by neighbors, co-workers, and even relatives through marriage (3).
The most famous survivor of the Rwanda genocide is an immaculate woman named Immaculee Ilibgiza. Immaculee Ilibgiza grew up in a village named Kibuye. She grew up in a family that prayed together every night. Her father was Hutu and her mother was Tutsi, so the children were considered Tutsi. From the article “ Immaculee Ilibgiza: The Real Life of a Refugee (part 1)” Immaculee says, “My family [was] very Christian, very dedicated to God” (Watts 1). Kibuye was divided between three different ethnic groups Hutu and