Genocide is “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, ethnic, political, or cultural group”. In Rwanda for example, the Hutu-led government embraced a new program that called for the country’s Hutu people to murder anyone that was a Tutsi (Gourevitch, 6). This new policy of one ethnic group (Hutu) that was called upon to murder another ethnic group (Tutsi) occurred during April through June of 1994 and resulted in the genocide of approximately 800,000 innocent people that even included women and children of all ages. In this paper I will first analyze the origins/historical context regarding the discontent amongst the Hutu and Tutsi people as well as the historical context as to why major players in the international community chose not to intervene. Second, the actor/agent using political violence, in this case the Hutu, will also be analyzed into segments that include the characterization of the Hutu people, as well as their goals, tactics of violence used and resources administered that allowed them to accomplish the genocide against the Tutsi. Finally, how the Tutsi respond to the violence against them, what resources they had in deterring the Hutu and the outcome of the Rwanda genocide will also be discussed.
“Governments are mandated by international law to protect people from genocide,” said human rights activist, Bianca Jagger, referring to the law that the United Nations failed to uphold during the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The United Nations refused to send aid to the citizens of Rwanda claiming that the atrocities were a civil war. However, this was clearly not a civil war, because only one ethnic group was armed and prepared to exterminate the other ethnic group. The Tutsi ethnic group was defined as being superior to the Hutu ethnic group by early colonists because they possessed more caucasian like features. Over time, the Hutu grew hateful of the Tutsi, because they controlled more governmental power, had prefered access to education, and received higher social status. Out of jealousy and a sense of injustice, the Hutu people became the perpetrators in the Rwandan genocide. A genocide is the intent to destroy a group by killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to the group, and transferring children of the group to another group (Stanton). The United Nations needs to recognize the killing and near extermination of the Tutsi people as a genocide, in order to prevent future genocides from being mishandled the same way. Unsupported by the United Nations, it took the Rwandan Patriotic Front, a group of escaped Tutsis, 100 days to stop the genocide. If the U.N. had acted as soon as the first signs of the genocide appeared they could have prevented a tragic loss of lives. The Rwandan genocide of 1994 should be classified as a genocide by the United Nations because the actions of the perpetrators reflect the stages of polarization and extermination in Stanton’s theory of the eight stages of genocide.
Genocide in Rwanda
The definition of genocide as given in the Webster's College Dictionary is "The deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group. " This definition depicts the situation in 1994 of Rwanda, a small, poor, central African country. The Rwandan genocide was the systematic extermination of over eight hundred thousand Tutsi, an ethnic group in Rwanda, by the Hutu, another ethnic group in Rwanda.
Murder is never a good way to solve a problem, especially when a dictator murders people for no reason or for just a rumor or idea. That’s exactly what happened with the Rwandan Genocide. The Hutus slaughtered the Tutsi tribe of East Africa because the Tutsis had most of the leadership roles when the Europeans took control over Rwanda (Rosenburg). And of course, the Hutus didn’t like that at all, so they started to mass slaughter the Tutsi tribe of Rwanda. The Tutsis were just humble cattle herders who were chosen at random to take leadership roles instead of the Hutus (Rosenburg). The Rwandan Genocide was a terrible event in our world history. Throughout the course of 100 days from April 6 to July 16 1994, approximately 800,000 to 1 million Tutsis and some moderate Hutus were massacred in the Rwandan genocide (United Human Rights Council).
Genocides have plagued the world since men first began forming social groups. A genocide can be defined as the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group. Although the actual word genocide wasn’t invented until 1948, they have been around forever in human history. The earliest genocides happened approximately 10,000 years ago when ancient tribes mass-murdered their opposing sides. This is the earliest scientifically dated evidence for a human group conflict—a precursor to what we now know as a genocide. The most prominent genocide as seen throughout history is the Holocaust. This horrific event carried out by Hitler and his loyal Nazi soldiers took the lives of over six million Jews. Genocides can occur for many of reasons, whether it be a difference in economics, religion, or even physical appearance. A more modern take on a genocide event would be the Rwandan Genocide. This is when certain cultural groups have tried to eliminate their opposing side. What the Hutu’s did to the Tutsi’s is a prime example of two clashing groups that have disfavored relations. The events that took place in Rwanda in 1994 is a stark contrast from what the country is
“Genocide.” The World Almanac and Book of Facts. 2013. 01 Jan. 2013: 746. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 11 Feb. 2014.
Various schools of thought exist as to why genocide continues at this deplorable rate and what must be done in order to uphold our promise. There are those who believe it is inaction by the international community which allows for massacres and tragedies to occur - equating apathy or neutrality with complicity to evil. Although other nations may play a part in the solution to genocide, the absolute reliance on others is part of the problem. No one nation or group of nations can be given such a respo...
In a small village in Africa, a mother and her family live a different life. Around her, everyone is dying, the village they live in burns and crumbles. Everything feels like it is just gone. This family lives in an area of Africa home to over 6 million people. Over 100 different tribes live there, and are all being affected by this. It’s a simple life, but violence and death always surrounds them. In 10 years 400,000 people have died in this area because of this violence; that’s around 100 people per day. The family is worried. They can’t stop thinking, Am I next? But this is happening in places all over this region and beyond. These people have come in, on behalf of the government of Sudan, to kill and destroy rebels. And along the way, thousands are killed, left injured, homeless, and mentally and or physically scarred for life. On top of the 400 thousand killed, 2.5 million have nowhere to live and could be without food or clothing. In 2003, this all started when groups from Darfur, rebelled against the Sudan government. The Sudanese response: kill them all and destroy them completely. And for the past 10+ years, it has been war, pure genocide. There are more genocides outside of Darfur as well. The U.S. and other country’s governments need to step in to end genocide like the one taking place in Darfur; by putting an end to genocide, our future of our children will be improved as well as the world’s future as a whole.
Many times we ask why nobody did anything to stop such horrific events from happening. Actually, many people said that this would never happen again but this is not the case. Since the Holocaust we have seen several examples of how the general public sometimes refuses to acknowledge the occurrence of events and how the government often has little political will to stop mass murders until it is too late. One example of this that occurred not too long ago is the Rwandan Genocide. In 1994, between half a million to a million Rwandan Tutsi as well as thousands of moderate Hutu, were exterminated in the clearest mass murder case since the Holocaust. The world stood back and observed as the murders took place. Samantha Power, in the book she wrote, A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide1,and her article The Atlantic Monthly, “Bystanders to Genocide: Why the United States Let the Rwandan Tragedy Happen,” Power writes “The story of U.S. policy during the genocide in Rwanda is not a story of willful complicity with evil. U.S. officials did not sit around and conspire to allow genocide to happen. But whatever their convictions about ‘never again,’ many of them did sit around, and they most certainly did allow genocide to happen.”2 Samantha Power's writing shows that the U.S. government knew enough about the genocide through early warnings but nevertheless because they lacked political will to do anything about it they passed up many opportunities to end the rain of terror.3
Genocide is something that needs to be stopped and extinct. We as America cannot let genocide take