The Rwandan genocide

The year 1994 marks the occurrence of one of the most horrifying incidents to ever happen to humanity.  The Rwandan genocide was a systematic killing of the people of Tutsi ethnic minority by the members of the Hutu ethnic majority in Rwanda.  The main agenda of the mass killings that were instigated by the Hutu government was to kill all of the members of the Tutsi community in the country… About 800,000 to 1 million Tutsi were massacred by the Hutu government, their militia and ordinary citizens who were trained by the government. The genocide was halted when the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) took control of the country through military tactics.

 Racial tensions in the country between the Tutsis and the Hutus served as fuel to the genocide. During the colonization of Rwanda by the Belgians and the Germans, the Tutsis ethnic minority was favored and the Hutus ethnic majority was discriminated against. The Belgians and the Germans supported the Tutsi monarchy and decreed that all local chiefs must be Tutsis. A Hutu revolution in 1959 forced more the 300,000 Tutsis to leave the country in fear of their lives and 1662 the Hutus captured and exiled the Tutsi monarch and declared that Rwanda is a republic country. Belgium granted Rwanda independence in July 1962. Post-independence with the majority of the population being Hutu, a resolutely Hutu government came to power. The leader of the new Hutu government was Habyarimana who founded a new party and the only party in the country called the national revolutionary movement for development. Now with the Hutu government violence against the Tutsis became the new normal.

In 1990- 1993, the Hutu government fought wars with the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front).  The RPF was mainly Rwandan refugees from Uganda. These actions of the government and the RPF started the civil war in Rwanda. Seeing, how both parties were running a loss, the Arusha accords were signed. The Arusha accords were the peace agreement between the government of the Republic of Rwanda and the Rwandan patriotic front to end the three-year-long civil war that battered the country in 1993. But the Rwandan genocide was not an ordinary war crime, it was predetermined and a carefully planned massacre of the Tutsi people. The Hutu ruling government had members of the party who were against Habyarimana and believed that a final killing of all the Tutsi people will solve the problem of the country. The Hutu power wing trained and armed youth militia groups such as the Interahamwe and the impuzamugambi. The youth militia youth had already been actively killing Tutsi people across the country. In 1990, the government armed civilians and trained them with the pretense of self-defense against the RPF. But the peace agreement fell through when presidents Habyarimana plane was shot down. Who was responsible for the shooting down the plane is still unclear but this incident catalyzed the genocide. On April 7th, the genocide started with the murder of moderate Hutu the Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana. This created a power vacuum in the country where the country had no clear leader. An intermediate government was formed with Hutu power leaders was formed.

The genocide started on 7th April of 1994, mass killings in Kigali started with the killing of moderate leaders and liberal journalists in the capital. The extremely efficient militia and the trained ordinary citizens proceeded to slaughter all Tutsi insight. In the capital city of Kigali, the military set up roadblocks where they would check a person’s identity card, if the card classified them as Tutsi then they were murdered. Ordinary citizens were prompted to kill the neighboring Tutsi. In the rural areas where everyone knew each other, it was relatively easier to identify and kill Tutsi people.  Within months 800’00 to 1 million people had been killed. The Hutu military also used other disgraceful methods in the genocide.  The military supported group Interahamwe used rape as an instrument to hurt the moderate Hutu and Tutsi women. Not only did the Interahamwe but the soldiers of the army of the liberation of Rwanda, the presidential guard, and Hutu civilians also engaged in sexual violence against Tutsi women. The Interahamwe used men who were HIV positive and formed them into rape squads. Every day around 800 Tutsis were killed.  Only in July of 1994 did the genocide end. The genocide ended when the RPF took control of the country and the capital. The remaining Hutu population fled to the country of Zaire (now the democratic republic of Congo) in fear that the army would retaliate for the genocide.

The genocide had many repercussions, due to sexual violation; many female survivors had a long list of sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and self-isolation. The genocide had left many buildings inhabitable and the economy of the country was in a deplorable state. The country since then has bounced back. The country has adopted a new constitution, the ethnic classification on the Rwandan identity cards were removed. The economy of the country has grown at a rate of 8 percent making Rwanda one of the most invest able countries in Africa.

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