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Learning About Rwandan Genocide


 Rwandan Genocide

Rwandan Genocide

Genocide is defined as the mass murder of an ethnic or racial group. Throughout history there have been a number of genocide occurrences in various locations all throughout the world. One of the fairly recent tragic events was the 1994 Rwandan genocide, when thousands upon thousands of people of Rwanda, Africa were brutally killed. The Rwandan genocide specifically targeted the Rwandan people of Tutsis and Hutus, two of the three primary ethnic groups that reside in the African country of Rwanda. Due to internal conflicts and power struggles within the Rwanda government, the Rwanda genocide was initiated by its own people, the Hutu people, who are considered higher up in the social hierarchy ladder than the Tutsis or the Twas, the third main ethnic group of Rwanda.

The Rwanda genocide is thought to have been initiated by the assassination of former Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana. Habyarimana was assassinated on April 6, 1994 when the airplane he was riding in was shot down. The former president of neighboring country Burundi, Cyprien Ntaryamira, was also in the aircraft when it was targeted and shot down near the Kigali International Airport. Former president of approximately 20 years, Juvénal Habyarimana was of the Hutu descent, and it is said that he heavily favored the Hutu people over Tutsis and Twas. His lengthy dictatorship created many internal conflicts and ethnic tensions within the people of the nation, and his assassination was the spark which started the tragic Rwanda genocide. The Rwandan genocide is documented to have lasted approximately one hundred days, maybe more, from the date of Habyarimana’s death, April 6, 1994 until sometime around the middle of July. The total death count of the Rwanda genocide is anywhere between 800,000 to one million men, women, and children of all ages. It is estimated that the Rwanda genocide depleted the nation’s population by almost 20%.

Prior to the start of the Rwandan genocide in 1994, internal conflicts within the nation brewed as ethnic tensions between the Tutsis and the Hutu grew stronger and more hostile with each passing day. A rebel group, who called themselves the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), was formed in 1987 and is comprised mainly of Tutsi refugees. The RPF, with the help of Uganda, a bordering country, invaded Hutu territory in 1990, declaring the Rwandan Civil War. The Hutus were supported by the French. From the Rwandan Civil War came about the establishment of the Hutu Power, an ideological group opposing the Rwandan Patriotic Front and all Tutsis. In current day Rwanda, peace has been relatively established and the RPF is currently the major political party of Rwanda.

The Rwandan genocide is a tragic event that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children of all ages. Though the Rwanda genocide happened almost 16 years ago, the nation is still feeling the effects of such a horrific occurrence. There is an abundance of information available via the Internet about the facts and special reports of the Rwanda genocide, as well as multimedia and survivor testimonials.

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