The Unseen Genocide

explanatory Essay
776 words
776 words

April 6, 2014, marks the 20th anniversary of the beginning of a genocide that killed nearly 100,000 people. The Rwandan genocide of 1994 nearly wiped out the Tutsi population of the country in only the span of a few months. An estimated 10,000 people were murdered each day. Philip Gourevitch, a journalist who visited Rwanda in the aftermath of the genocide, gives this account: "Neighbors hacked neighbors in their homes, and colleagues hacked colleagues to death in their workplaces. Doctors killed their patients, and schoolteachers killed their pupils. Within days, the Tutsi populations of many villages were all but eliminated, and in Kigali prisoners were released in work gangs to collect the corpses that lined the roadsides. Drunken militia bands, fortified with assorted drugs from ransacked pharmacies, were bused from massacre to massacre. Radio announcers reminded listeners not to take pity on women and children." The world had never seen so many deaths so fast. It asks the question: how could something like this happen? The Rwandan Genocide was caused by three main factors: ethnic tensions between the Tutsi and Hutu tribes, the propaganda issued by the radical ideology Hutu Power, and the lack of action taken by other countries.
In order to understand the Rwandan genocide’s cause, it is important to have an understanding of the history of ethnic tension between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes. The Rwandan Kingdom, which lasted from the 11th to 20th century, was traditionally led by a Tutsi king, or mwami. While the Hutus had some power, a majority of them were poor peasants. The end of the kingdom came when Belgium colonized Rwanda and identified the separate tribes with identity cards. The Tutsis were favored by the Belgians becaus...

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...and friends just to survive being killed by their hand. This was the reality that many Tutsis faced during those few months. Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, said, “For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.” The people of today are responsible for never forgetting the Rwandan Genocide. By examining the circumstances that made it possible, perhaps the people of the future will make sure that no genocide will ever happen again.

Works Cited

"100 Days of Slaughter." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2014.
Gourevitch, Philip. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1998. Print.
Power, Samantha. "Bystanders to Genocide." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 01 Sept. 2001. Web. 15 Feb. 2014.
"Genocide in Rwanda." United Human Rights Council. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2014.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the rwandan genocide of 1994 nearly wiped out the tutsi population of the country in only the span of a few months.
  • Explains the history of ethnic tension between the hutu and tutsi tribes in the rwandan genocide.
  • Explains how the hutu ten commandments painted the tutsis as the "common enemy" and the u.n. took extensive measures to avoid taking action in rwanda.
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