Causes of the Rwanda Genocide

What all begain as a social economic standing s between two groups in Rwanda ended up being the reason why 800000 people ended up losing their lives… this battle didn’t only start with the Rwandan genocide in 1994, this battle has been here ever since the colonisation of Rwanda.

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Throughout the 1800s among other categories; Rwanda had two main categories for people that lived there, namely there were the Hutus and the Tutsis, but this had nothing to do with ethnic grouping whatsoever, these different categories were given onto another by the economical state of which they were in, if you had a large amount of cattle you were regarded as a Tutsi and if you had a small amount of cattle you would then be regarded as a Hutu there were interactions among these two categories people and one could easily move from being a Hutu to being a Tutsi vice versa, this was done either by marriage or by the accomplishment of cattle or the lose there of (Roseberg, 2014) so then the term Hutu or Tutsi had no bases of which clan one originated from or whether they were original found in Rwanda or not, and therefore generally speaking being a Tutsi held a higher strata in society (UN, 2014). This was all up until the white man came with his one ideology and human classification this was all before the white men came to Africa the Rwandan people had their own system of running things but the white man came and he had the Bible and they had the land. They then put notion of Christianity into their minds and when the Rwandans got the hang of the white man’s system the white man had the land and Rwandans were left with notions that caused them hatred. (Sugirtharajah, 2006)

Among these systems of how Rwanda operated the Rwandans had their own myths and believes of how humanity came to be (Mamdani, 2002, 79); firstly they believed in the sacral nature and the origin of human settlement in Rwanda that claimed monarchy originated from a heavenly king nkuba meaning thunder and that nkuba had two sons namely Kigwa and Tutsi and a daughter Nyampundu, the Rwandans believed that the nkuba alongside his wife Nyagasani lived in the heavens above and that one day these three siblings fell from the heavens and landed on the Rwandan Hill and as Kigwa married his sister their descendants were to be the Abanyinginya clan and as Tutsi their brother married on one of his nieces his descendants were the Abeega clan and these was to be the reason for the intermarriage among these two royal families(Mamdani, 2002, 79)

The second myth was to be based on the social differences of the three groups. The myth claimed that the three sons namely Gatwa, Gahutu and Gatutsi went to God and asked for social abilities and the Gatutsi was given anger, Gahutu given disobedience and labour and the Gatwa was given the faculty, gluttony (Mamdani, 2002, 79)

The third one claimed the first king of the earth Kigwa tested his three sons’ abilities by giving them milk to keep guide overnight, Gatwa was found to have drank the whole milk, Gahutu to have spilled his milk but the Gatutsi to have kept his milk intacked and that is why the Gatutsi was put in higher possible than the the two other brothers so that he can ensure that their bad traits are kept in check (Mamdani, 2002, 80).

And it is in every one of these examples that the Tutsis and the Hutus all came from the same family even though other were put in position of power over the other but this was until the rival colonists arrived in Rwanda with their idea that the Tutsis were to be deemed better than the Hutus because they come from elsewhere (Mamdani, 2002, 80).

During the era of the trans-Atlantio slave trade the racialized understanding of Africa was that there were three Africas, southern Africa “Africa proper” where there was no form of civilization and where slaves were found, north Africa “European Africa” that had some form of civilization as a result of the influence that Europe had on it and east Africa that was influenced by Asia, but as Africa was explored even further they found that this ideology became even less credible because they found forms of civilization where there had not been an European influence and this was then that they claimed this influence was not completely without European influence because these black people were the descendants of Canaan (Mamdani, 2002, 80), that were given the curse of ham.

The curse of ham was given to Canaan’s children after his father ham had seen Noah who was Canaan’s Grandfather drunk and naked in the stupor. This curse was given to Ham that Canaan’s descendants shall be born ugly and black, they will have their hair twisted into kinks and their eyes will have red eyes and they will go naked and their male members shamefully elongated and they shall form subject to slavery (Mamdani, 2002, 81), this myth fitted in so perfectly with Rwanda people they both illustrated difference that arose from brothers so therefore humans(Mamdani, 2002, 80) paradox is that black people were to be regarded as slaves by this biblical curse “a servant of servants shall he be”(Mamdani, 2002, 81), by this curse the coloniser felt it highly Christian of them so enslave black people even though they were part of humanity (Mamdani, 2002, 81).

But this believe of black having to be subjected to bad and all that is not to be liked does not only exist in Christianity, it is in every human being that the is a distinction from bad and good and it is in most case that black is always seen as the bad side, darkness is to be evil and light to be the good of things it is by this Manichean Allegory that colour can be deemed as a form of identifying what is good and what is bad, this allegory does only compare one from the other but it weighs it against another so there is to be degrees of which one can be deemed to be bad and so to be good, it was by this allegory that complex concepts are just to be put into black and white, bad and good, darkness and light. Because of the skin pigmentation difference that was found within the Hutus and the Tutsis the Manichean allegory was quick to take course and the Hutus being darker were to be deemed as the darkness the bad of things and the Tutsis as the more lighter ones as the light, the ones to be in power and generally the more superior and to be regarded as foreigners in the Rwandan society and put in position of power and called the Hamitic people and the Hutus to be the Negros that are to be slaves to the Tutsis and therefore fall victim under their regime (Mamdani, 2002;82)

All of these factors wouldn’t have caused the genocide to be what it was if only it wasn’t instituted into the Rwandan society and this took place when the Belgians arrived in Rwanda and put a minority power over a majority amount of Hutus.

Rwanda was generally place full of magical beauty that was tacked away in the heart of Africa, Rwanda was among others an inspiration for the some writing material regard Gorillas (Meredith,2002; 485) it was a place of tourism attraction and as such its economy was just on the rise, between the 1956 and 1989 inflation rates were low, there was a high number of schoo enrolment and health facility were of good standards, their main export being coffee almost every house hold that was in the rural areas was involved in coffee production (Meredith, 2002;486) even though they were these highly positive aspects to Rwanda the politics of the country were still being ran by the Hamitic hypothesis and for this reason the Tutsis were being recognised as the enemy of the country(Meredith, 2002;486) because they were been said not to originate from but this notion was not the reason why they were killed these was just a long standing ethnic ideology that has long been standing but has commonly been the scapegoat at the dispose of both the Tutsis and the Hutus whenever there is a crisis at hand, like in 1972 when Captain Michel Micombero a Tutsi, had rounded up all Hutus with any form of education and had them killed as a form of reducing the Hutu uprising (Meredith, 2002; 488).

It seems as if though whenever the Rwandans are doing badly in the country they claim that there is up rise of the other ethnic group that wants to have their own power enforced onto others.

Even though Rwanda was a place of beauty and all, during the time that President Kayibanda was the leader the government was about to collapse because of the great disagreements that were among the government (Meredith,2002;488). Among the other issues the most highlighted was that President Kayibanda favoured the southern Hutu clan more than he favoured the other Hutu clans of Rwanda because he himself was from the south of Rwanda( Meredith, 2002;489). So when the Tutsis that were exiled into neighbouring countries formed insurgent groups called the inyenzi that had a sole intention of restoring the Tutsi monarchy attacked a military camp and were heading for the country’s capital Kayibanda took this act as his opportunity to crush the Tutsi opposition(opposition (Meredith, 2002; 487) and send out his hate speeches of how the Tutsis wanted to run Rwanda once more (Meredith, 2002; 488)

When his claims of terrorism by the Tutsis and his hate campaign did not work he got thrown into jail by his fellow Hutu man from the southern of Rwanda and Kayibanda died allegedly from starving (Meredith, 2002;489), he was succeeded by the very same man that put him into jail (Meredith, 2002; 490) and during most of his years of power which was during the 1970s and 1980s the Tutsi factor was not of importance to him (Meredith,2002;490) up until he himself needed a scapegoat to divert to.

The killings that took place and the reasons for these kills

On the 6th of April 1994 Habyarimana’s plane was shot down (Meredith, 2002; 507) although not known by which clan, the Hutu extremists and the RDF accused each other. Because of Habyarimana had signed the Arusha Accords making the hut hold on Rwanda week and allowing Tutsi participation (Rosenberg,2014), the Hutu extremists were heavily upset and therefore they took into action the plans that have been put into place for years which was the extermination of the Tutsi (Meredith, 2002;507).

The victims that were be killed were not only to be Tutsis but also Hutus that were either willing to help Tutsis or that were standing in the way of the Hutu extremists that were willing to kill the Hutus lists of victims were properly prepared for both the opposition and every Tutsi’s name and addresses and they were tracked down and killed in their homes (Meredith, 2002; 503-507). So because of the Hamitic hypothesis the Tutsis had an element that made them distinct and the oppositions was just a mere minority (Girard, 1986; 17).

Certain forms of media was also used as a method of not only identifying the people that were to be killed by radio broadcasts (Meredith, 2002; 507) but it was also used to pass on the propaganda of the whole genocide, it also continued the Hutus of the ways of which they are expected to behave as proper Hutus through the ten commandments that clearly stated that a hutu shall not have any form of mercy for a tutsi or any intermarriage between them(Gisenyi, 1990,4) it is paradoxical that they did not command them not to have sexual intercourses with them and that may be the reason why so many woman like Jane were raped and witnessed other being raped and killed (Nowrojee,1996). Through media the ten hutu commandments gained obedience from even pastors for they ignored the bible’s Ten Commandments and churches because the hotspots for these killings(Rwembeho, 2007)

Jennifer Rosenberg, 2014, Rwanda Genocide, , Date access: 26 May 2014.
United Nations, 2014, Rwanda: A Brief History of the Country,, Date access: 26 May 2014.
Sugirtharajah, R. (2006) Voices from the Margin: INTERPRETING THE BIBLE IN THE THIRD WORLD, New York: Orbis Books, p25).
Mamdani, M. (2002) When victims become killers: colonialism, nativism, and the genocide in Rwanda, Chapter Three, p76-87.
Meredith, M., (2006) The Graves are not yet full!” in The State of Africa: A History of Fifty of Independence, London: Free Press.
Girard, R., (1986) “Steriotypes of Persecution” in The Scapegoat. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University press.
Gisenyi Information, (1990), Kangura Issue 06.
Nowrojee, B., (1996) Shattered Lives: Sexual Violence during the Rwandan Genocide and its Aftermath, United States of America.
Rwembeho, S., (2007), Rwanda: When Churches Became ‘Killing Fields’,, Date accessed: 28 May 2014.
Da Silva, S., (2007), Revisiting the ‘Rwandan Genocide’,, Date accessed: 28 May 2014.

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