The Rwandan Genocide

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Tiffany Brown Brown 1 Ms. Dewees
Senior Seminar
The Rwandan Genocide
The Rwandan Genocide was massive killings in 1994. Rwanda was characterized by ethnic divides between the Hutu and Tutsi population. The Tutsis were being targeted no matter what age or gender. Innocent civilians were all unarmed and weren’t given a chance. It established ethnic conflict that would eventually leave Rwanda in great potential for future violence. The genocide escalated from a peaceful background over hundreds of years that then evolved into hatred of ethnic differences that led to mass killings ending with the aftermath of Rwanda’s most wanted for the murder of hundreds of thousands.

Rwanda is one of the smallest nations in the African continent and bordered by Zaire, Uganda, Tanzania, and Burundi. Rwanda is characterized by highland plateaus between the Nile and Zaire River basins and the mountain ranges which dominate its landscape, both contributing to its nickname. “The Land of the Thousand Hills” (Robert Genond 1995). A moderate tropical climate facilitates as many as three agricultural seasons, utilizing nearly every piece of land, and Rwanda’s crop production nearly exceeds that of any other African nation.

Brown 2
The first settlers of Rwanda were the Batwas or the Twa people in 2,000 BC. They were very small people but very courageous. They lived off hunting only using slings as weapons. The Twa were the only people that explored the land until the new beings that were much taller come to their land. These newcomers were called Bahutus or we know as the Hutus people. The Hutu people pushed the Twa deeper into the forest clearing away the land for them. Long after the Hutus arrived, there was a new arrival of people. The new arrival was called the Batutsis or we know as the Tutsis. All groups of people were based on lineage or on loyalty upon their leaders. They came up with a language called Kinyarwanda that connected with their religious beliefs, and created a culture which valued song, dance, poetry, and rhetoric. They celebrated the same beliefs even during the genocide, the killers and their intended victims sang of some of the same leaders from the Rwandan past. When Rwanda emerged as a major state in the eighteenth century, its rulers measured their power in the number of their subjects and counted their wealth in the number of their cattle. The Hutus and Tutsis were usually related. Giving or recieving cattle were a way of winning supporters. A large number of supporters helped win cattle and therefore help win wealth and power, but not all cattle owners held state positions. The pastoralists known as Bagogwe, moved in the northwest, and those called Bahima, located in the northeast, and avoided state power rather than sharing it. Not all members were born rich in cattle, although those lacking wealth wanted it along with power. Brown 3

Cultivators skilled in making war and able to mobilize large groups of followers rose to importance through the military system, particularly under the late nineteenth century ruler Rwabugiri, who brought Rwanda to the height of its power. To expand, Rwanda neighboring peoples regardless of whether they were pastoralists or cultivators and regardless of whether they were organized in lineages or in states. By the end of the nineteenth century, the ruler governed the central regions. He made so that powerful lineage groups dominated. Some of them were pastoralists and some cultivators (Either Tutsis or Hutus). In addition, he tolerated the existence of several small states within the boundaries of Rwanda, usually because their rulers were thought to control rainfall, crop pests, or some other aspect of agricultural productivity important for Rwanda as a whole. The President Habyarimana and his circle counted themselves as the representatives of...
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