Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rwanda Genocide 1994

Actually I was contemplating on writing about Taliban. Unfortunately the scope is too wide, covering its history, ideology, treatment of women, etc. After reading through 25 pages of information on wikipedia, I'm not entirely sure where to begin.

While reading through some Taliban articles on the TIME magazine last night, I came across the word genocide and the idea of writing about Rwanda came to my mind.

There were a lot of genocides in history; most of us know about Adolf Hitler, the man who tried to wipe the Jews off this planet. By the way a study reveals that some Singaporean thought that Adolf Hitler was a fictional character.

German soldiers tormenting a Jew

Had he not pull the trigger that ended his life, he would've been the savior of modern Palestine. But let's not dip ourselves into the topic of Israel and Palestine today. For it has always been, and will always be a controversial issue. This issue can no longer be resolved simply by listening to both sides of the story. It has evolved and reached an unprecedented level of complication.


But most of us are unaware of other genocides occurring elsewhere. The 1994 Rwanda, for example, showcased the brutal decapitation of 800,000 innocent lives, mostly Tutsi and some moderate Hutu civilian, whilst the world stood by and what's worse; the United Nations let the killings went on unabated after 10 Belgian peacekeepers were killed in the early days of the genocide.

4 years later, in 1998, Bill Clinton, then the President of the United States, visited the war-torn country and stated his regret over his negligence, which is now known as the "Clinton Apology". Clinton stated that he believed that if he had sent 5,000 U.S. peacekeepers, more than 500,000 lives could have been saved.

Alright, that was supposed to be the introduction =P I know it's long but.. shit I should've kept it short.


Rwanda is made up of approximately 80% Hutu, and 15% Tutsi. What's the difference between the two? Well, they speak the same Bantu tongues as well as French, and generally practice Christianity, though the Tutsi have generally been noted to be taller.
Many observers would be surprised to learn that the conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi has nothing to do with language nor religion

Many believed that German and Belgian colonizers tried to find differences between the Hutu and Tutsi in order to better categorize the natives in their censuses. Now that's the problem with colonizers. The same was done onto us in Malaya during British-colonial time. They segregated the people to prevent them from uniting on the same front, and thus making administration work easier.

Generally, the Hutu-Tutsi strife stems from class warfare, with the Tutsis perceived to have greater wealth and social status (as well as favoring cattle ranching over what is seen as the lower-class farming of the Hutus). The Tutsis were thought to have originally came from Ethiopia, and arrived after the Hutu came from Chad.

For centuries, the Tutsi monarchy had controlled most of the power in Rwanda. The monarchy continued under colonial rule. The Belgian colonizer divided the people and granted the Tutsis government post and better job opportunity. This caused resentment against the Tutsis. By 1950s', the Hutu overthrew the monarchy and took control of the government. They in turn persecuted the Tutsis, especially those previously in power, and many of the most educated fled the country for refuge in Uganda and other areas.

There were many events that happened along the way--Hutus killing Hutus, or both ethnics engaging one another. In 1994, a plane carrying the President of Rwanda, a Hutu, was shot down by an unknown attacker. The political scene of Rwanda, which had hitherto been unimaginably violent, suddenly turned into hell. Both sides accused the other of killing the president. The Interahamwe and the Impuzamugambi, two militias associated with political parties, used the incident as a stepping stone to trigger the genocide. The Hutu Power group known as the Akazu directed the genocide, which lasted for 100 days, killing 800,000 innocent lives, averaging 8000 lives a day.

The killing was systematically organized by the government. Rwandan Prime Minister Jean Kambanda revealed in his testimony before the International Criminal Tribunal that the genocide was openly discussed in cabinet meetings and that
"...one cabinet minister said she was personally in favor of getting rid of all Tutsi; without the Tutsi, she told ministers, all of Rwanda's problems would be over."

Former Prime Minister Jean Kambanda

Due to high rates of illiteracy at the time of the genocide, radio was an important way for the government to deliver messages to the public. It was used as a propaganda tool to mobilize Hutus to kill their Tutsi neighbors. People were killed by their best mates, women were raped and killed afterwards. There was this video about a little girl who narrowly escaped death by hiding under her grandmother's corpse.

Paul Kagame, the current President of Rwanda, a Tutsi who lived through the genocide says:

"Fathers were killing their own children because they resembled their wife, who was a Tutsi."


Hutu gangs searched out victims hiding in churches and school edifices. Local officials and government-sponsored radio incited ordinary citizens to kill their neighbors, and those who refused to kill were often murdered on the spot.
"Either you took part in the massacres or you were massacred yourself."


There was also a case where the Tutsis went hiding in a church, believing that the pastor would "seek and protect all children of God". But they were wrong.
Once inside, the pastor contacted the military and the people became target for shooting practice. The pastor was then given incentive for helping in "cleaning up the pests".


There was another case where a Tutsi boy was confronted by his childhood friend of Hutu ethnicity. He was told that if they do not kill him, the military will kill his family instead. So the Tutsi boy was tied up and thrown into the river, all the while witnessed by soldiers from the military. Fortunately he managed to untie the knot and swam to safety.

On April 12, more than 1,500 Tutsis sought refuge in a Catholic church in Nyange, then in Kivumu commune. Local Interahamwe, acting in concert with the authorities, used bulldozers to knock down the church building. The militia used machetes and rifles to kill every person who tried to escape.

The genocide has totally torn the compassion image of religion; when you cannot even trust the church for protection, who will you trust?


After the genocide, a review highlighted adherents of Islam. Always on the fringe in Rwanda, the Muslim community had acted as a unit to save as many Tutsis as they could. In certain places such as Kigali, some Tutsi Christians sought out Muslim homes; in places such as Mabare, Muslims actively searched for Tutsi to protect and save.

As a result of the positive actions of the Muslim community, Rwanda saw a rush of conversions to Islam among Tutsi after 1994. Some did it in order to honour the community which had saved them or their family members; some converted out of religious conviction; some converted because they had to find God somewhere other than in their former religion; and others converted to seek protection from future ethnic purges, as Muslims had not participated in the killings.

Women and girls were raped repeatedly before killed, mutilated and displayed as trophy in public places. Decapitated head were used for target practice. Some foreign armies were also accused of participating in the killing, most notably the French and the Belgian. To sum it all up, Rwanda was turning into an abyss, and that lasted for three grueling months.

The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) battalion of Tutsi rebels stationed in Kigali, then headed by Paul Kagame, the current President of Rwanda, battled the government forces fiercely. They eventually took control of the government, overthrowing the Hutu regime and ended the genocide on July 1994, 100 days after it began. As a result of their victory, approximately 2 million Hutus; participants in the genocide, and bystanders, with anticipation of Tutsi retaliation, fled from Rwanda to Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and for the most part of Zaire.

After the RPF took power, they established a coalition government made up of both Hutu and Tutsi. The current government prohibits discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, race or religion.

Under Kagame's rule, death sentence has been abolished, oppositions are given seats in his Cabinet, and Rwanda has since morphed into a stunning new nation. Its economy has grown an average of 6.4% since 2001; last year the World Bank named Rwanda its most improved country; roads, schools, running water and phones are widespread; disease is down; literacy and life expectancy are up; even the mountain gorillas are thriving.

Long Live President Paul.

He, however, is subjected to several accusations--dubbed tyrant by Human Rights Watch(HRW), although they did not deny the efficiency of his government.


"If I'm solving my people's problems, he tells TIME,
"it doesn't matter how much you abuse me."

Well, most of his people aren't complaining, which is a good sign. And that is another problem with western capitalists. Their towering ego and their thoughts for every little issues make them incredibly fastidious; be it human rights problem, or ethnic clash, or break-and-rule system.

They were the ones that spawned the problem in the first place with their ethnic division. Next they granted them independence and watched as the country suffered the worst genocide of the 20th century.
Now that Rwanda has managed to overcome all that problem without seeking help in the process, the colonizers, now losing their entertainment and pride, start to fuss around, capitalizing on issues of small implication.


If I were a Rwandan, I would choose to believe in my president who had shown results, not outsiders, who spent too much time talking and doing nothing. And certainly not the church, the one that displayed the true meaning of betrayal.

Rwanda is a perfect example of how ethnic clash could destroy a nation. Almost 20% of its population were decimated in 1994 alone. Should we not learn from history?

Malcolm
info: 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_Genocide
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/1288230.stm

26 comments:

  1. I'm also writing a paper on the Rwandan genocide. It really is awful that humanity still hasn't learned from tragedies like these.

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  2. Great article . A Belgian in Asia

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  3. Genocide in Rwanda, what stumbling everything human in man

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  4. http://www.rwandadocumentsproject.net/gsdl/cgi-bin/library

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  5. Humanity cannot give up that which is a part of life.

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  6. You use this topic to promote hatred of white people.

    Without white people this world would be still living in the stone age.

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  7. I doing a presentation on racism, and I agree with the article. However, in regards to the comment written on April 19, 2011 the killings are Africans against Africans;these are different cultures from the same continent killing each other. Saying that "Without white people this world would be still living in the stone age" is racist and stupid. The world was progressing at their own pace individually and all the Europeans did when colonizing is wipe out great civilizations who were more advanced than them in a lot of ways.

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    1. how do you know what white people did?the mongols destroyed a few cultures themselves.you weren't alive ,history is based on here say.in what ways were these civilizations more advanced?like the Aztecs?sometimes sacrificing 1000 people in one day,the place stinking with rotten blood and flies.the Spaniards must have been really impressed .is that to whom you are referring?because I cant think of any others .why didn't theses advanced brown cultures build a galleon and cross the ocean using the stars and compass .because they were too busy killing each other.the Africans have destroyed Africa,and thanks to rats like the author of this blog,thousands of whites have been genocided in Africa .productive countries are now stripped clean of resources and game,south Africa and Rhodesia come to mind and Zimbabwe,places where whites lives for hundreds of years.then along comes the likes of you .using the media to spread blame on whites causing hatred and eventually murder.i wish you college punks would read your history before you go spewing trash everywhere.in what ways were they more advanced??the fact the spear was silent and the rifle wasn't?or maybe they wore leaves over their dicks because it was just too damn hot to wear clothes and armour.this is definitely advanced thinking..in what ways my friend?........think hard......don't make things up like the tuskeegee airmen bullcrap.history is easily changed by idiots like you .whites were good for Africa and had every right to be there,you colored locusts are swarming in our countries.but we cant be in Africa or we cant own property in asia,you guys are the fucking racists,ad the ones who are stupid.basket weavers never walked on the moon.and Malaysia is an overpopulated crime against a beautiful place like all you Asian bugs.swarming everywhere,have a war and kill each other off for gods sake.china versus Indonesia Vietnam and Malaysia and korea,japan versus n korea india and Pakistan,then the ocean and the environment could breathe a sigh of relief,with billions less Asians to feed and litter.one can only hope.and to the Belgian that likes this article,you are a fukn arab not a Belgian,no white Belgian would like this crap,you will never be Belgian,belgians are white.

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  8. Good article, thanks for posting, plenty to ponder.

    You state that Almost 20% of its population were decimated in 1994 alone.
    Decimate, would be 10 percent of the population. The word in Latin for twenty is Viginti?

    "They created the problem in the first place with their ethnic division". ( Westerner)

    At what point does a nation become responsible for its own actions and not have the excuse of blaming the categorization of a Western Imperialist power in days gone by?

    Interesting point about the evils of the Christian Church and the mercy of Islam.

    That would have been an ideal opportunity to springboard to the genocide of Islam through the Turks and the genocide of Christian Armenians in the early twentieth century. We could throw in Indonesian funded insurgents murdering 200,000 East Timor chappies?

    Secularism doesn't get of the hook either, with awesome chaps like Pol Pot etc.

    I just thought your point oddly put about the context of Church/ God/ Religion/ Islam in this article?

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    1. If you want to start pointing fingers, don't forget the tens of thousands of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan already killed by Western forces. Or the Chechen Muslims killed by Russians. Or the thousands of Palestinians maimed or killed by Israelis. And who can forget the hundreds of thousands of Bosnian Muslims slaughtered by the Serbs. Do you really want to play this game ?

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  9. We westerners (you mean Americans) are pretty stupid as a whole I admit... However, some of us are pretty smart and have good ethics. I find your article very insightful but not 100% true. Probably 90% true. The worst kind of lie is one that is close to the truth.. - an American

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  10. After the jews wracked Germans, Polish and other Europeans it was natural to get kicked violently and history showed us that they definitely deserved it.

    People at arms and soldiers were actually shooting run-away jews at their backs, that indicates how much these physiognomies tortured Europeans before they get punished by them.

    And of course the holocaust was 1/6 less victims and without concentration death camps.

    Eventually the allies won the war but they hadn't committed any national independence revolution or had expressed their dislike on their dynasties which were jewish occupied posts.

    The media controlled the masses and today "jews" are something you do not any more see.
    The ones who rule are very well organised and secured in dark mason catacombs.

    The majority of the simple casual hebrews look like simple people who are bound a lot with the value of money. If they have not been affected by their unique and ultimately supermacial, types referred such as "gods among humans", religion then they usually have fun and spend some money here and there, peaceful and easy living.
    In addition they have numerous relatives around the globe.

    I wish I was one of them. Am a kike too fuck yeah! Mason guys recruit me please !

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  11. The article has an overtone that Muslims are kind-hearted, and God can be found in Islam. Bullshit! I'm living in Bangladesh, a Muslim majority country. I've seen how brutally Muslim men were killed - millions of them, I've seen how many thousands of women were raped in 1971, and that all by fellow Muslims from Pakistan. And like all Gods, the blind, dead and imaginary Allah could not protect us.

    If you don't believe it, please conduct some researches into world's worst genocides ever.

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  12. Muraho / Salam Alekum w'ramatallahu w'barakata What is sad is that most of the comments left on this topic are irrelevant, and largely left by westerners ( Europeans, or those of their stock who dwell in the Americas). Some of your comments are disgusting, especially the antisemitic epithet left on May 14. This person is very misinformed, and they have no idea that Rwandans have great respect for Jews, and can relate to their suffering, and that we feel man has turn on them as much as fellow Rwandans turn on us. We do not care about your issues with Jews, etc. I say your issues, because history has proven that people blame Jews and have used them as scapegoats for their own issues, just as Tutsis were used as scapegoats for others to take power. Your people have introduce enough racism and hatred into this continent, and plagued our nations with it that we do not need to begin hating others. If you study Rwandan history, you will learn that European colonization gave preference to Tutsis, which naturally over time caused a deep divide between Tutsi and Hutu and eventual mistrust and mistreatment of Hutus. In fact, Jews are our cousins , even brothers, more so than you could ever be. I have met Jewish travelers who have even prayed in our Masjid. They explained to us that they are permitted to pray in a mosque, and yet are prohibited to enter churches because unlike Christianity, both Islam and Judaism believe in a single lord , our supreme creator Allah S'Lh,no intermediary or humanly partner , nor symbols that are used in worship. This forum is obviously not about any of that, and instead should be a lesson for all humanity , and it simply points out that Muslims in Rwanda have made a concerned effort to make sure we uphold that message. As for the last poster, again, this article makes no sweeping statement that all Muslims everywhere do good, and I attribute bad actions to bad people regardless of their faith. This is where we differ, where we take a stand, and why Rwandan Muslims are different. Please don't come to Rwanda and insult us with views such as these, it will be very dangerous for you , and we can't save everyone.

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    1. I LOVE THIS...I am American and totally agree with the beginning of this reply...people have posted the MOST irrelevant trash on this very informative article. I am so very grateful to have been able to read such history. I was very young when this happened, therefore not knowing anything about it...which hurts me, because i am a black american wishing to know everything that i can about the events of all "Africans and African Americans alike". I saw the movie today and of course had to research the genocide on my own because i know movies deviate from the truth often. All of the black ppl in class were teary eyed...and the "others" sat there---stiff... But we must ALWAYS remember to continue our belief and faith in the God that shuns hatred. I pray for continued healing in your country, and for your people. You are blessed to enlighten the world with your stories. God Bless you.

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  13. "Some foreign armies were also accused of participating in the killing, most notably the French and the Belgian."

    What is this based on? Why on earth would French and Belgium armies join into this type of killing? And do you have any idea of these countries at all? I do, I live in one of them...
    A shame that you pollute a rather good article with these insinuations. Perhaps if the real background were discussed, it might help to prevent a reoccurance of such a tragedy.

    You are using a horrific event and unsubtantiated rumours (im refering to the line I quoted, not the entire article) to further an anti-western point, which will only lead to more hatred.
    Good job, to seed the seeds of the next generations harted like this...

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    1. At least French were involved. They trained Hutu troops and policemen against Tutsi's RPF. So, shame on you if you live in one of these countries and you deny what your governments did for this slaughter. Read Ryszard Kapuscinski's "Ebony" then you'll know.

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    2. And in turn, read Aidan Hehir's 'Humanitarian intervention: an introduction' or Wheeler's 'Saving Strangers' and YOU will know there is absolutely no evidance to say the French AIDED in the killing of Tutsi's. They DID train Hutu troops and policemen- but not against Tutsis. They trained the National Army of Rwanda and the national police force, before the violence started, as part of a 'development' scheme placed by the UNITED NATIONS. The national army and police force of the state just happened to be a Hutu majority one, understandable, since Rwanda was a Hutu majority state. Though there is certainly reason to say The French and Belgian troops did nothing to AID them, it is a blatant lie to say they were involved in the killing.

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  14. To the Anonymous from Bangladesh,

    Peace ! You seem to confused between Islam and Muslims. Islam should be judged by Islam ; and Muslims should be judged by Islam.

    It's quite obvious that you know nothing of Islam itself and what it actually preaches. Can you prove that what you said you saw in Bangladesh is the result of Islam ?

    I'm a Muslim. I know what my religion is. And those who think I'm whitewashing are free to read the Quran - either in its translated versions or in its original Arabic. Read the authoritative exegesis of the Quran such as the Tafsir of Imam Qurthubi or Imam At-Tabari.

    Go and check for yourselves, and judge Islam for yourselves.

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  15. I am helping to produce a video on the Rwandan Genocide about a young man who actually survived after his entire family was killed. I am looking for photographs from the genocide, and was wondering how to gain access to the photographs that you've used in this blog. Please email me. mabnet@samaritan.org. Thank you!

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  16. And in turn, read Aidan Hehir's 'Humanitarian intervention: an introduction' or Wheeler's 'Saving Strangers' and YOU will know there is absolutely no evidance to say the French AIDED in the killing of Tutsi's. They DID train Hutu troops and policemen- but not against Tutsis. They trained the National Army of Rwanda and the national police force, before the violence started, as part of a 'development' scheme placed by the UNITED NATIONS. The national army and police force of the state just happened to be a Hutu majority one, understandable, since Rwanda was a Hutu majority state. Though there is certainly reason to say The French and Belgian troops did nothing to AID them, it is a blatant lie to say they were involved in the killing.

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    1. This is in reference to Anonymous on March 14th.

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  17. Firstly, I want to talk as someone who has studied this subject quite a lot, as it is part of what I am studying in Univeristy. Indeed, I had to write a 5000 word essay on the subject just last week, so I'd like to think i'm not exactly ill-informed.

    Now, aside from the fact that France did NOT take part in the killing of Tutsi's, my argument for which is in reply to another comment, I would like to put forward this:

    "And that is another problem with western capitalists. Their towering ego and their thoughts for every little issues make them incredibly fastidious; be it human rights problem, or ethnic clash, or break-and-rule system. ......Now that Rwanda has managed to overcome all that problem without seeking help in the process, the colonizers, now losing their entertainment and pride, start to fuss around, capitalizing on issues of small implication."

    "And certainly not the church, the one that displayed the true meaning of betrayal."

    And this is where it all kicks off. Now, from the considerable bias you are displaying in your article, I am guessing you are a Muslim. Needless to say, as you have probably guessed, I am a catholic. Now, as a result of my two best friends being from Algeria and Nigeria respectively and being Muslim themselves, I have no ill feelings towards Muslims. But, the sentiment you are displaying here, pointing the finger at the 'egotistical white people that take 'entertainment and pride' in seeing people suffer as a result of colonialism'- and the 'catholic church that betrayed them'- Surely, you must realise that you are spreading the exact same racist ideology that was spread IN this Rwandan genocide. You are displaying, in your own comments, the very reason ethnic conflict breaks out- pointing the finger at another 'race' and saying "THEM. It's all THEIR fault."

    Does it anger you when American's point at Muslims, and see them as the root of all Evil? When they paint you all as barbaric inhumane terrorists, despite the majority of them having never been to or understand ANYTHING about Islamic culture? Well, it works two ways, and your doing the same to us- and it offends us too.

    All I can say is that it is such a shame when you see authors making crude, racist (Yes, badmouthing westerners is racism every bit as much as anyone else, too) and anti-catholic sentiments in their so called 'factual' articles. One would think, when discussing issues of Racism and human rights violations, that one might steer clear of displaying the same level of racism that causes the very happenings such as those you are writing about. You can CERTAINLY argue that colonialism by a SELECT FEW western countries, NOT the majority, had a lot to do with what happened in Rwanda- I would completely agree with you. But you can do it without sounding so hateful and spiteful, as i'm sure you would wish people to do for your people when they talk about 'Muslim extremists ' and 9/11.

    In your future articles, I hope you can learn to speak with a little decorum, a little respect for other races, faiths, and nationalities, and perhaps a little common sense as well, as you can hardly expect to preach for (or recieve) that which you do not give. Good day.

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  18. The "German soldiers" in black uniforms tormenting a Jew are certainly NOT Germans!

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