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The Rwandan Genocide July 11, 2009

The Rwandan genocide is argued to be one which stands out from all other genocides in the 20th century. Howard Adelman, a theorist and professor emeritus from York University argues that the Rwandan genocide stands out from any other genocide, because it could have been prevented (Adelman, 2005). The essay aims to critically evaluate the Rwanda genocide by asking ‘who and why’, to accurately point out the cause of the genocide. There have being many debates on the causes of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The 1994 Rwandan genocide was a picture of killing moderated by extremist Hutus against Tutsis. An estimated 800,000 people where killed (www. hrw.org). The essay will show that the causes of the Rwandan genocide were deliberate and premeditated. In order to understand the subject, we must not ignore the question of what made the people carry out this monstrous crime. Not forgetting the logic and the sense of morality which drove the people, and how the genocide was organised (African Right, 1995).The essay shows that the perpetrators of the Rwanda genocide were not only ideologically driven, but indeed also by a drive to hold on to power. The essay examines the social, political and economic history of Rwanda before 1994. This is an attempt to specify the various conditions which assisted the perpetrator in orchestrating the genocide. One key issue which manifested the Rwandan genocide was the question of race and ethnicity (Adelman, 2005). This was the focal point of many debates during the 1994 Rwanda genocide (Adelman, 2005). Race and ethnicity was usually the argument of the rich western states and the media at that time (Adelman, 2005). Although this argument has being discredited by academia, we must appreciate at the time it was very significant (Adelman, 2005). African Rights argued that tension in pre-colonial Rwanda somehow contributed to earlier tension between Tutsis and Hutus (African Rights, 1995). They argue that Tutsis at that stage dominated the Hutus under a repressive monarchy. Pre-colonial Rwanda had such issues as Tutsi and Hutu; however there were never signs of tension between both clans (www.hrw.org). Tutsi and Hutus lived peacefully side-by-side (www.hrw.org). African rights argues “ the claim made by an earlier generation of writers that Tutsi invaded and conquered Rwanda imposing a centralised monarchy is now universally rejected by historian” (African Rights, 1995). This argument has been the focus of pre- colonel Tutsi dominance. The Tutsi were the political elite, but the Hutu formed part of the political elite; these Hutus were at the time recognised as Tutsi (African Rights, 1995). In addition to that there were known intermarriages between Tutsi and Hutu (African rights, 1995). The intermarriage between proved there were no significant tensions between the two clans (www.globalissues.org). In order to discredit the European argument regarding tribal and ethnic conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi, it calls for a highlight of the institution of Hutu and Tutsi identity. “Hutu and Tutsi identity were defined partly by politics, partly by occupational status, and partly by ancestry, they were not pure ethnic let alone racial” (African Right, 1995). African political structure before the arrival of Europeans was based on the ownership of cattle as a form of credit and status (Nkrumah, 1963). In the case of Rwanda the Tutsi were cattle herders, this gave them the power over the Hutu cultivators. Tutsi were seen as the wealthier clan. These institutions were seen in a form of Ukuhake and Umoheto. ( Africa rights, 1995) It was during the arrival of Europeans when Western historians translated the Ukuhake institution as symbolising dominance in Rwanda by the Tutsi (African Rights, 1995). Although this is a fact the history of Rwanda indicates there was some ethnic division before the arrival of the Europeans (Nkrumah, 1963). African Rights argue that ethnic...
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