The Rwandan Genocide

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The Rwandan Genocide

History has a funny way of repeating itself. After World War II, the United States and the rest of the international community promised to do all they could to prevent future genocides. However this was a promise they were unable to keep. In 1994 when Rwanda went through genocide the United States and U.N were absent, leaving the Tutsis to be brutally murdered by the Hutus. As a consequence 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed and dumped into mass graves. Once again the United States and U.N promised to do more, but this time it was too late. Before the genocide, Rwanda existed as a country the size of Vermont with a population of 8 million. Rwanda was controlled by Belgium, who gained control of the country from a League of Nations mandate that took the control of Rwanda away from Germany and gave it to Belgium. Under the Belgian control from 1919 to 1962 the Tutsis experienced privileges that were denied to the Hutus. The Belgians designated the Tutsis to be the select group of privileged and educated intermediaries between the governed and the governor because they were landowners who were tall and in the European eyes "aristocratic looking". Rwanda's path towards independence from Belgium started with the influence of European colonial powers and missionaries. The European colonial powers introduced modern weapons and methods for waging war. The European missionaries also reminded the Rwandans of their oppression and instigated feelings of revolution. In 1956, using their new knowledge from the European colonial powers, the Hutus began their quest for independence by rebelling and fighting. By 1959 the Hutus had seized power and began stripping the Tutsis of their land. In response, the Tutsis fled to neighboring countries and formed the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). In 1962, when Rwanda gained its independence from Belgium, the Hutu took control of the government. Under Hutu control in Rwanda Tutsi's privileges were stripped; they were no longer allowed to go to secondary schools and universities. In 1990 RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) rebels attacked and civil war began. In 1993 the U.N and other western powers stepped in and achieved a cease-fire. They set up a power sharing agreement known as the Arusha Accords, which forced the Rwandan government to govern with Hutu opposition parties and a Tutsi minority. The U.N also stationed peacekeepers to insure exiled Tutsi that it would be safe to return to their homes. However not everyone was happy with the Arusha Accord. Hutu extremists felt that they had nothing to gain from the peace agreement and a lot to loose. The Hutu extremists who had opposed the Arusha Accord were already getting ready for the genocide, "By 1992, Hutu militia had purchased, stockpiled, and begun distributing an estimated 85 tons of munitions, as well as 581,000 machetes, one machete for every 1/3 adult Hutu male."(Power 337) Even though the Rwandan genocide started suddenly, there were many warning signs that both the United States and the U.N should have noticed. In 1993, a peace group known as the international commission of investigation spent 3 weeks in Rwanda, interviewing many Rwandans about reported mass murders of Tutsis. "The commission's March 1993 report found that more than 10,000 Tutsis had been detained and 2,000 murdered since the RPF's invasion in 1990."(Power 338). The international commission and U.N rapportuer warned of the probability of a large-scale genocide (Power 338). As though this in it self was not enough evidence towards the inevitable genocide, the CIA released a report in January of 1993 warning against the probability of a large-scale ethnic violence (Power 338). Despite all of these warning signals both the United States and the U.N did little to stop the pending genocide. On April 6th, 1994 Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana's Jet was shot down, killing him and Burundi President Cyprien Ntaryamira. This officially...
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