Peoples and Cultures of Africa
7 December 2007
Rwanda: The Aftermath of the Genocide
By taking a closer look at Rwanda and its people, I came to realize that despite the genocidal violence that occurred, Rwanda was its ' own country with its ' own unique traditions, customs, and cultures. Nonetheless the media attention surrounding the genocide in Rwanda is unavoidable. By researching Rwanda I have come to find out that one thing the media does not cover is the aftermath of the genocide. I will take a closer look into why the genocide happened, what we could have done, and what happened after the genocide. When researching for this paper I came to a stark realization that all the people who died in Rwanda were just like you and me, and because we are so similar to our African brothers and sisters more should have been done to prevent these awful acts of violence that transpired not too long ago.
Up to a million people died before the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), some of whose personnel were Hutu, was able to take full control. Unlike the instigators of the killings of Armenians in 1915, and Jews in 1941-45, no one tried to keep the genocide in Rwanda a secret. Journalists and television cameras reported what they saw, or what they found once the genocide had ended. (Barnett 19)There was even a UN force (UNAMIR) in place, monitoring the ceasefire and now were willing to watch as people were killed in the street by grenades, guns, and machetes. According to UNAMIR they "had no mandate to intervene." (Kuperman 52) They did their best to protect trapped foreigners, until they were pulled out of Rwanda altogether. But the genocide organizers were conscious of the risks of international analysis: over the radio the killers were constantly encouraged to continue, but "No more corpses on the roads, please." Corpses in the countryside were covered with banana leaves to screen them from aerial photography. (Chretien 84-93)
Bibliography: Barnett, Michael. Eyewitness to a Genocide: The United Nations and Rwanda. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002. Chretien, Jean-Pierre. Great Lakes of Africa: Two Thousand Years of History. Zone Books, 2003. Des Forges, Alison. Leave None to Tell the Story : Genocide in Rwanda. New York: Human Rights Watch, 1999. Exploring Rwanda and Darfur. Online posting. The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. PBS 12 Apr. 2006. Keane, Fergal. Season of Blood: A Rwandan Journey. 1996. Kuperman, Alan. The Limits of Humanitarian Intervention: Genocide in Rwanda. 2001.