Beginning on April 6, 1994, Hutus began a mass slaughtering of the Tutsis in the African country of Rwanda. This mass slaughtering is labeled as genocide, the deliberate obliteration of an ethnic, racial, religious, or political group. The Rwandan genocide lasted 100 days while other countries stood idly by and watched the brutal killings continue. The hatred against the Tutsis began after the RPF invasion in October of 1990. Accusations from editorials and radio broadcasts claimed Tutsis wanted to establish a monarchy with Hutu slaves; other racial libel included all the Tutsis being called cockroaches.
Many years prior to the Rwandan genocide, a similar deliberate extinction occurred. Between 1933 and 1945, members of the Nazi party killed over six million Jews in what is know now as the Holocaust. The genocide started when the Treaty of Versailles caused Germany to pay massive monetary compensations to the other nations. As stated by Sean Sheehan in Why Did the Holocaust Happen? (2011), “Some anti-Semitics saw the harsh terms of the treaty as part of a Jewish conspiracy against the German people. Wealthy Jews in Germany were accused of investing their money in enemy countries instead of joining the German army” (p. 7). Jews were soon accused of plotting world domination and spreading communism to destroy Christian culture. The hatred of the Jewish culture grew when several Jews held government positions in the Weimar era.
The Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide did display some similarities when occurring. Both portrayed certain characteristics and conditions for the genocide to occur: a national culture that did not place a high value of human life; a totalitarian society with superior ideology; and members of the dominate culture perceiving the potential victims as “racial inferiors,” such as the Hutu’s remarks of Tutsis being “cockroaches.” Overall, a strong, centralized authority is needed with bureaucratic organization and pathological individuals.
George Stanton, the president of Genocide Watch, suggested genocide develops in eight stages that are “predictable but not inexorable” (Mare, 2011). Stage one is classification where people are alienated into “us and them” depending on ethnicity, nationality, race, and religion; in this case, German and Jew, Hutu and Tutsi depict the mentality of the superior group. According to Mare, “The main preventive measure at this early stage is to develop universalistic institutions that transcend ethnic or racial divisions, that actively promote tolerance and understanding, and that promote classifications that transcend the divisions” (2011).
Symbolization, the second stage, is used to classify these groups; names or symbols may be forced upon reluctant members of the groups. For example, the Nazis used the yellow star to symbolize the Jews; this symbol was worn on clothing or imprinted on Jewish establishments. A preventive measure used to combat the...