Summary Of Scott Straus The Order Of Genocide

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Though the event occurred almost twenty-one years ago, the Rwandan genocide of 1994 has prompted much discussion about what truly caused the deaths of an estimated 800,000 civilians. Scott Straus, a political scientist and author of The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda, makes the claim that it is very difficult to precisely identify what began the genocide in Rwanda for a number of reasons, and also comments that many of the beliefs in regards to the causes and evolution of genocide in Rwanda are incomplete. In his book, Straus focuses on three main aspects: to look closely at the local dynamics of the genocide, to produce an assessment of explanations, and finally to develop a theory that would explain the genocide in Rwanda.…show more content…
He places a lot of his emphasis on fear and intimidation as the main drivers of the violence and says that no matter what reason perpetrators gave for their individual participation, there was one main rationale that drove genocidal violence. That one rationale was that the violence occurred in the following way: “the RPF killed President Habyarimana; RPF soldiers had invaded to kill Hutus; all Tutsis were RPF supporters or potential supporters; ergo, Hutus had to kill Tutsis to prevent being attacked by them” (Straus 153). The most common reason respondents stated was the cause of the genocide was the death of their president, but some said it was because elites desired power. As a reader, it is hard to understand why perpetrators chose to kill people who did not pose any immediate threats when the perpetrators themselves feared insecurity. The Hutus believed that the Tutsis wanted to take back their power so the Hutu extremists had a goal of terminating them, but it is still difficult to interpret the happenings of the genocide because there were so many dynamics. But regardless of all that went on, in sum, The Order of Genocide maintains that three dynamics lead to the killing: war, race, and power. Without a war in Rwanda, the genocide may have just been unable to take place. But the war resulted in “fear, insecurity, rage, revenge, and self-defense” and tensed up the country to perform violent acts of killing (Straus, 173-174). Race allowed all Tutsis to be labeled as the enemy. And finally, power gave hardliners an ability of control to issue the elimination of all Tutsis and authorize the

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