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American Passivity: Rwanda Genocide Essay

3055 words - 13 pages

American Passivity: Rwanda Genocide

Genocide is a crime on a different scale to all other crimes against humanity, and it implies an intention to completely exterminate the chosen group; genocide is therefore the greatest of the crimes against humankind. The massacres that transpired in Rwanda less than four years ago possess every quality attributed to the ramifications of genocide. There, in the clearest case of genocide since Hitler, a vast slaughter occurred which claimed the lives of more that 800,000 Rwandans. This genocide is probably the greatest and gravest crime against humanity in the second half of the twentieth-century; and no group whether foreign or indigenous executed ...view middle of the document...

The Tutsi were deemed superior in all aspects in respect to the Hutus and Twa due to their facial features and manner in which they lived and presented themselves. “Their racialization of the political reality was exploited” (McCullum 3). According to the Belgians, they possessed a politeness and greater intelligence that surpassed the levels that were inherent among the other tribes. The “whiteness,” including facial features, behavioral tendencies, and personality, reflected many characteristics of the white race (Vassal 8). The Belgians presented them with an opportunity for education and a Christian upbringing. It was this intervention that sowed the seeds for the future resentment among the clans. Disgruntled by their new low-level social status, resentment began to grow amongst the Hutu clan towards the Tutsi.

In 1959, social tensions erupted between the Hutus and the Tutsi, and the Hutu revolution was born. Since the extremely small numbers limited the Twa’s power, they refrained from any serious involvement in this social revolution (McCullum 3). The Belgians were already beginning to support the aspirations of the Hutu for a greater role in the country’s affairs, believing that a minority rule was unsustainable. The Belgians then imposed a plan to replace the Tutsi chiefs with Hutu. The Tutsi loathed their loss of power, while the Hutu acted with aggression after inheriting their newfound sense of power and domination. Many of the new Hutu mayors used their power to persecute the Tutsi, thousands of whom were forced to abandon their homes and flee abroad to neighboring countries. These refugees formed militias in these countries that they fled to in hope of reinstating their power. The Tutsi refugees would often organize raids against the Hutu government. Their intentions were to “create enormous tensions among the Hutu peasants” (McCullum 6). However, the Hutu responded to these actions by executing the Tutsi that still lived in Rwanda.

According to the video Forsaken Cries, in 1990, a civil war broke out between the Tutsi refugees and the Hutu extremists. From Uganda, they invaded northern Rwanda and fought for four years. The Rwandan president, Juvenal Habyarimana sought help from the Belgian government but was turned down; instead the Belgian government pressured them to negotiating a peace agreement with the rebel Tutsi army. President Habyarimana granted a UN peacekeeping force to enter the country to help resolve the trauma that ensued across his country. This force could help bring the country back from its current chaotic state; however, the UN was reluctant in providing aid at this time. While returning from another peace negotiation, President Habyarimana’s plane was shot down by Hutu extremists fearing that the Tutsi would have gotten the best of them. With the entire country in chaos, this act was exactly what the Hutu needed to launch the genocide (Jorgensen 95).

“Within an hour of the crash of Habyarimana’s...

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