A freedom from Belgium in 1962 the Hutu

A Genocide is the deliberate killing of a large
group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation. The
Rwandan genocide was a mass killing between the Tutsis and Hutu tribes that was
being lead up to for a long time even before the Rwandan president was killed.
Most people did not know the genocide was going on, so little help came from
the outside other than the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). The effects of the
Rwandan genocide were terrible and still affect people today. The Rwanda war of
1994 was known as one of the worst genocides in Africa because the Hutu
murdered one million Tutsis with the Hutu claiming they were resentful of the
Tutsis for feeling superior to them for so long.

Rwanda
has had a strong history of violence within the last one hundred years between
the majority Hutu and minority Tutsis. Although the Tutsis are slightly taller
than the Hutu most people cannot tell the Hutu and Tutsis apart: they speak the
same language, have the same religion and traditions. But when the Belgian
colonists arrived they handed out identity cards classify them by their race.
“The Belgians considered the Tutsis to be superior to the Hutus. Not
surprisingly, the Tutsis welcomed this idea, and for the next 20 years they
enjoyed better jobs and educational opportunities than their neighbors.” (BBC,
Rwanda: How the Genocide Happened). Riots broke out throughout the years, as
the Hutu grew more and more resentful. In 1959 a Hutu uprising caused hundreds
of Tutsis to be killed and thousands more were forced from the country.
According to the Outreach Program of the Rwanda Genocide and the United
Nations, “This marked the start of the so-called ‘Hutu Peasant Revolution’ or
‘social revolution’ lasting from 1959 to 1961, which signified the end of Tutsi
domination and the sharpening of ethnic tensions.” When Rwanda was granted
freedom from Belgium in 1962 the Hutu took over leaving the Tutsis to blame for
everything that went wrong. Already the similarities between Rwanda’s ethnic differences
and the reasons for the Holocaust are beginning to show.

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On
April 6, 1994, Juvenal Habyarimana, the Rwandan president, was in a plane that
crashed to the ground killing him and two other Hutu politicians. The RPF, a
group of exiled Tutsis, were accused of shooting the missile that caused the
plane to crash. “Within hours of the crash, members of the presidential guard
and other elite troops-carrying hit lists composed of the names of persons perceived
to RPF sympathizers.” (The Rwanda Genocide p.23) A group of Hutu
extremists known as the Interahamwe (meaning those who attack together) begun
to slaughter Tutsis and Hutu moderates.  It started as businessmen, politicians and
military officers, but expanded to ordinary Hutu civilians as radio broadcasts
encouraged them to fight. The radio broadcast convinced them that exterminating
the Tutsis was the only way to stay in power. They were promised rewards such
as the land of the Tutsis they killed if they joined in the fight.

One million
Tutsis were killed in three months by the Hutu extremists known as the
Interahamwe, and according to the Outreach Programme on the Rwanda Genocide and
United Nations; an estimated 150,000
to 250,000 women were also raped. Roadblocks were set up to identify
any Tutsis trying to go through if they could not produce their identity card
they were assumed to be a Tutsis and killed. Many Tutsis families sought refuge
in churches, where they had been protected from previous waves of violence,
after being driven from their homes. The Interahamwe would blow up the churches
the Tutsis were gathered in or go through with machetes leaving no survivors,
some killing their own neighbors. The Hutu would throw their victims into the
river saying they were sending them back to Ethiopia. Many Tutsis tried to hide
in Hutu neighbor homes only to be killed. If allowed to stay most were found by
enemy Hutu searching homes or they starved before long. While in hiding Immaculee
Ilibagiza, a genocide survivor, reported hearing Hutu screaming ‘These Tutsi
snakes are hiding in the grass and bushes, so make sure that you have your
machete ready to chop the snakes in half. If you’re working your field and spot
a Tutsi women in the bushes breastfeeding her baby, don’t waste a golden
opportunity: Pick up your gun, shoot her, and return to work, knowing that you
did your duty, But don’t forget to kill the baby- the child of a snake is a
snake, so kill it, too.’

Help
finally came from the RPF after they captured the capital, their mission to try
and save any Tutsis left. The Rwanda government had broken down and the RPF took
over, the killings continued until the RPF ordered a ceasefire. No help came
from the United States because their troops had been killed in a previous
African war. Most United Nation troops stopped fighting when ten Belgian troops
were killed. The French helped rescue Tutsis and set up safe areas way from
enemy Hutu but left before the killings were through. According to the Outreach
Programme on the Rwanda Genocide and the United Nations, “Government officials,
soldiers and militia who had participated in the genocide fled to the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), then known as Zaire, taking with them 1.4
million civilians, most of them Hutu who had been told that the RPF would kill
them”

The
genocide had huge effects on both the Rwandans and other countries. Immaculee
Ilibagiza said after the genocide, “I believe we can heal Rwanda – and our
world – by healing one heart at a time.” After the genocide Hutu Pasteur Bizimungu
became president and Tutsis Mr. Kagame vice president. Later though Bizimungu
was accused of influencing ethnic violence and sent to jail. Kagame took over
as a result. Because of the destruction of buildings and the deaths of lawyers,
and judges the genocide trails did not begin until 1994. By 2000 more than 1000
suspects were still awaiting trails. “Although the killing in Rwanda was over,
the presence of Hutu militias in DR Congo has led to years of conflict there,
causing up to five million deaths. Rwanda’s now Tutsi-led government has twice
invaded its much larger neighbor, saying it wants to wipe out the Hutu forces.”
(Rwanda: How the genocide happened)

Overall
the Rwanda genocide was one of the worst genocides because of the inhumane way
the Hutu mercilessly killed the Tutsis. As Immaculee Ilibagiza said, “When you
start to see another human being as less than you, it’s a danger.” That is
exactly what happened with the Rwandans that lead to the awful war between two
neighboring tribes.