Conflict Between the Tutsi and Hutu Classes

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Imagine waking up one morning and discovering that your basic human rights had been taken from you based on your religious or ethnic background. You and your family are rounded up, corralled together, and shipped off to a secluded location to be made to work like animals, or slaughtered where you stand. Millions of humans have had this reality in the 20th century. The term genocide is an often debated one. Webster’s dictionary defines genocide as “The systematic destruction of a racial, ethnic, or religious group.” (Merriam-Webster). Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-Jewish legal scholar who escaped Nazi Germany to the United States, coined the word genocide in 1944 (Encyclopedia of Death and Dying). It is derived from the Greek word genos, (race or tribe), and the Latin word cide, or killing. There is a documented history of conflict between the Tutsi and majority Hutu classes. Although the two are generally the same, sharing the same language, religion, and customs; the Belgians declared the minority Tutsis the favored class in the early 1900’s. Citing their appearance of being t...

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