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The Rwandan Genocide Essay

1315 words - 5 pages

Rwandan Genocide

The Rwandan Genocide began on April 6, 1994 and lasted for about 100 days (History). The two groups involved, the Hutus and Tutsis, were in a massive conflict after their president was killed. The Hutus brutally killed about 800,000 Tutsis and supporters. This tragic genocide was not stopped by other countries during its peak, leaving the world wondering why. As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, it is important to be informed about the tragedy.
The way to distinguish the difference between Hutus and Tutsis groups was to know where the Rwanda settlements were. The cattle location determined the group. The people with the most cattle were the Tutsis. They could change the fact that they were a Hutu or a Tutsi by marriage or cattle acquisition (20th Century History). The Hutus and Tutsis respected each other without problems, until the events of the Rwandan Genocide sparked.
Then, the Tutsis and Hutus conflict led to a greater problem. This was caused by the German invasion in 1894 (20th Century History). Since the Tutsis were more European, they took on more responsibility. The invasion helped create the idea of using identification, more specifically identity cards during World War I. The identity cards were used by the Belgians. This contrasted the three existing groups: the Tutsi, Hutu, and Twa, which were a very small group of hunters and gatherers. Out of those three groups, the Tutsi occupied 10 percent of powerful leadership roles, which upset the Hutus (20th Century History). After the Germans invaded, Rwanda struggled for independence from Belgium. The Hutus, who were the majority of Rwanda’s population, were put in charge by the Rwandan government. This upset the Tutsis, since they both wanted power. This conflict continued for decades.
Before his tragic death, President Habyarimana ran a totalitarian government in Rwanda, excluding the Tutsis. On August 3, 1993, a new system weakened the Hutus in Rwanda. It allowed Tutsis to have a say in government, upsetting the Hutus and extremists (History). There was a significant event that sparked the Rwandan Genocide. On April 6, 1994 at 8:30 p.m., President Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda was returning from Belgium when a surface- to- air missile shot his plane out of the sky over Rwanda’s capital, Kigali (About.com). All passengers, including the president, were killed. Within 24 hours of the crash, Hutu extremists took over the government, blamed the Tutsis for the deaths, and began to slaughter Tutsi citizens. Hutu extremists benefited from the president’s death.
Followed by this dreadful event, there came 100 days of slaughter, beginning in Kigali (BBC News). To assist, the Interahamwe (translated as Strike as One), an anti- Tutsi organization made up of Hutu extremists, constructed roadblocks. At the roadblocks, they checked identification cards and killed all Tutsis with machetes, clubs, or knives. The killing was later spread into the...

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