Genocide Studies in Rwanda

by: Ian, Filip, Kaleb

Introduction

During 1994, members of the Hutu ethnic majority in the east-central African nation of Rwanda murdered as many as 800 thousand to 1 million of their tutsi neighbours.  The genocide spreaded throughtout the country with shocking speed and brutaility.  This started when some of the Tutsis who fled the country formed rebel groups and tried to make an armed comeback in Rwanda many times, this led to decades of renewed ethnic violence and tensions. In the early 1990s, these tensions flared dramatically, the violence became widespread and the situation in the country moved toward full-scale civil war. Because of so much ethnic tension between the Tutsis and Hutus a civil war broke out. Even when Canada went to Rwanda to protect the 2 groups from killing each other, it took a lot of effort before peace in Rwanda was reached.

Canada’s Involvement

Canada’s involvement: Canada was a leading contributor to a series of United Nations peacekeeping missions in the African nation of Rwanda, from 1993-1995.  Their mandate was to keep peace between the forces of the Hutu government and rebels of the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which launched a civil war in 1990. They did what they could in this chaotic environment of widespread killing and mayhem, they were too few in number and hamstrung by their limited mandate. In the end, they could not prevent the worst of the horrific violence. The Canadian and the UN forces remained in the country for a time to try to help the country with some humanitarian efforts, mine clearing, and refugee resettlement before leaving the country in 1996.

Events During The War

The Hutus were an oppressive force in this conflict and being the majority they were in control. The president at the time was shot down on a plane on April.6, 1994. The Tutsi president and his associates were then blamed for the attack. He denied all accusations and after only a few hours brutal attacks occurred across Rwanda. There were many more reasons behind this brutal war. Even before colonization there were ethnic tensions between the 2 groups that went from disagreements to serious incidents. Even so, the groups are very similar and share the same language and culture. There are minor physical differences between the Hutus and Tutsis. The Tutsis are much taller and skinnier then the Hutus. The people were brutally thrown into rivers. When the Belgian colonists came in 1916 they were believed that the Tutsis were superior to the Hutus therefore gaining better jobs and lives. This caused many riots that lead to even higher tensions between the 2 groups. The pressure built up to the point where the Hutus ended up killing more than 20,000 Tutsis which made the Tutsis flee to neighbouring countries such as Uganda. Eventually, the colonists left the country leaving the Hutus to run Rwanda and the Tutsis to take their place as scapegoats and slaves. These events occurred before the actual genocide where many more people were killed and many presidents were killed before a peace treaty was signed to finally end this dramatic catastrophe in human history.

Genocide Deeper Explained

These videos will further explain all the events that occurred during the genocide. Our explanation is very oversimplified and much more remains to be explained. These videos do a great job of explaining each important point in the genocide. Once you watch these videos you will have a deeper understanding of why the genocide actually happened.

Rwandan Economy Today

Once again this topic is very complex and difficult to explain because the Rwandan economy is very ambivalent and many facts need to be considered in order for you to understand what is actually happening in that country. It would take a lot of time and effort to uncover this topic and even politicians fail to comprehend this economy.

Bibliography

“The Canadian Armed Forces in Rwanda.” https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/history/canadian-armed-forces/rwanda

History.com Editors. “Rwandan Genocide” https://www.history.com/topics/africa/rwandan-genocide

History.com Editors. “Rwandan Genocide.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 14 Oct. 2009, http://www.history.com/topics/africa/rwandan-genocide. 

“Rwanda Genocide of 1994.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., http://www.britannica.com/event/Rwanda-genocide-of-1994. 

“Rwanda Genocide: ‘I Am a Mother – I Killed Some Children’s Parents’.” BBC News, BBC, 14 June 2020, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-52938283. 

“Rwanda: How the Genocide Happened.” BBC News, BBC, 17 May 2011, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13431486. 

“Rwandan Genocide.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 6 Nov. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_genocide.