Summary Of The Rwandan Genocide

Submitted By Clovenhoof
Words: 1274
Pages: 6

Clover Hall
Humanities 2/6
April 22, 2015
The Rwandan Genocide stands out as a horrifically, significant event, not only because of the sheer number of people murdered in cold blood during an extremely short period of time, but also because of how recently it occurred in history. (Don't know what else to say for intro)
Rwanda was first colonized by the Germans. Their main contribution to the future of Rwanda was their fascination with anthropology and the method in which they categorized everything they encountered by physical attributes. Thus, Germans provided a theory that the Tutsi minority, with their slim noses, high foreheads, lighter skin, and "refined" manners had migrated from Ethiopia to Central Africa. They were a race which often intermixed with the whiter races from the North. The Tutsis had a monopoly on cattle which became a kind of currency. The Hutu majority, additionally, were "apparently" happy, simple-minded, flat nosed natives of the land. The Germans then appointed Tutsi to positions of power and were placed on a pedestal high above the Hutu. The Hutu became the poorly treated, under fed, oppressed peasants of Rwanda. This theory eased the German occupation of Rwanda and generated the notion that the Tutsis were superior. In 1919, under the treaty of Versailles, the territory of Ruanda-Urundi was put under Belgian rule.The Belgians organized a census and mandated that everyone be issued an identity card classifying them as either Tutsi or Hutu. This started exacerbating the division between the two races.
By the 1950's unrest had rippled through the country. Until now, The Belgians had controlled Rwanda through the Tutsis, but the educated and "elite" class demanded independence. Not only did they want freedom, but they wanted it immediately, something the Belgians were completely unprepared to do. As is usual in these circumstances, their response was to delay finding solutions, to stall. So Belgium abruptly switched tactics: they abandoned the Tutsis and began to support the more submissive, docile Hutus.Which began to incite a hatred against the Tutsis. {The emboldened, encouraged Hutus to take up arms.} A revolution erupted in Rwanda in 1959. The streets flowed with blood and chaos. Hutu peasants slaughtered cattle and were able to eat as much as they wanted, often for the first time in their lives. It is estimated that tens of thousands of Tutsis were murdered. Others were able to flee to neighboring countries such as Congo, Uganda, Tanganyika, and Burundi. The Tutsi monarchy ceased to exist and power went to the Hutu peasants.
In 1962 Rwanda gained its independence and Grégoire Kayibanda became the first elected Rwandan President, but some Hutus had mixed emotions on the result of the revolution. On one hand they were rejoicing because they relinquished power from the dominant caste for the first time, but on the other hand they did not absolutely defeat their rulers and annihilate the enemy completely. The Tutsis were still around, numbering an estimated 100,000 within Rwanda's borders and the remainder expelled from the country. Between 1961 and 1964, Tutsi refugees from surrounding countries mounted ten major attacks on Rwanda in an effort to regain power. Each of these resulted in another set of massacres of Tutsis living in Rwanda. Similar massacres also happened in 1968 and 1971.
In 1973 Juvénal Habyarimana, the Major General of the Army, overthrew Kayibanda and assumed his role as president. He continued to retain the ethnic ID cards and created the National Revolutionary Movement for Development (MRND). It was a single party that every Rwandan wasborn a member of and he was the sole leader. Habyarimana was re-elected in 1983 and 1988 with outstanding polls that never dipped below 99%. He did not, however, address the unrest between the Hutus and Tutsis. Nor did he acknowledge the grievances of the Tutsis', which included the demand of allowing the thousands of exiled