The Blood is on Our Hands
The two main tribes that occupy the vast land of Rwanda, Africa are the Tutsi and Hutu tribes. According to David Rieff, author of Rwanda and Genocide in the Twentieth Century, Rwanda gained its independence from France a little over forty years ago and the territory has been involved in or been on the verge of a civil war between the two tribes ever since. During most of the colonial period the Tutsis had control because of the influence of the Banzugu, the white French man. The Banzugu only occupied about one percent of the population but they obtained most of the material wealth within Rwanda. The Banzugu separated the Hutus from the Tutsis socially based on there physical features. The Tutsis were thought to be the superior tribe because of their non-African appearance, pale skin and their aquiline noses. Since the beginning of their tribal existence the two tribes have lived next to one another, believed in the same religion and spoke the same language. After Rwanda gained its independence from France the Tutsis held the majority of the power and authority. The Tutsis only held the control for a short period of time before the Hutus took control. When the Hutus took control many Tutsis fled Rwanda in fear of their lives or stayed and were murdered (1-2). This was just a preview of the rage to come in April of 1994.
About nine months before the massacre broke out the governments involved in the peacekeeping agreement signed what was called the Arusha Accords. This treaty was to be an international agreement to help control the constant battling between the Hutus and the Tutsis. On August 4, 1993 only five short days before the funding to the Rwandan government was revoked, President Habyarimana reluctantly signed the Arusha Accords. It took the threat of the World Bank to withdraw all funding from his government to convince him to go along with the agreement. The other countries involved in the Arusha Accords include its chief facilitator Tanzania and the following countries represented by the United Nation, France, Belgium, the U.S., Germany, Burundi, Senegal, Uganda and Zaire. When forging the peace treaty the U.N. pledged to provide a peacekeeping force to Rwanda (Des Forges 123-124). The U.S. the U.N. and the these other governments involved should have taken a more significant role in the interference of the genocide because of the Arusha Accord, the prior warnings they received, the innocent lives they could have saved and for the future of Rwanda.
Burkhalter said, “The Clinton Administration, facing what was the clearest case of genocide in 50 years, responded by downplaying the crisis diplomatically and impending effective intervention by U.N. forces to stop the killing” (44). Both the U.N. and the U.S. had an obligation to do something according to the peacekeeping policy they have with Rwanda, but instead the United States denied the severity of what was happening in Rwanda. ...