Rwandan Genocide. “Leave none to tell the story”. Definition of “Genocide”. The deliberate and systematic destruction or extermination of a particular racial, political, or a cultural group.
“Leave none to tell the story”
The deliberate and systematic destruction or extermination of a particular racial, political, or a cultural group.
The “goal” of a campaign of genocide is to annihilate (remove) a group based solely on race or culture from the earth.
A few hundred years ago, most people who lived in the region that is now Rwanda were farmers who also raised an occasional cattle and other smaller animals.
Because the Hutu had certain limits placed on their lives, the Tutsi and Belgians needed to identify who was a member of each group.
Physical characteristics identified some, but not all. The Belgians decided to register everyone once and for all. All Rwandans born would be registered as either Tutsi or Hutu at birth.
15% were declared Tutsi, 85% were declared Hutu. Identity cards were required to be held at all times. The categories of Tutsi and Hutu in Rwanda were now rigid.
Hutu revolution poster “What weapons will we use to defeat the cockroaches (Tutsi)?”
Tutsi refugee camp
Tutsi refugees traveling to Uganda
By the 1970s over a million Tutsi had fled Rwanda to neighboring countries like Uganda and Burundi.
The Tutsi located in Uganda finally created an organization to fight the Hutu in Rwanda. They were called the RPF or Rwandan Patriotic Front. Their goal was to overthrow the Hutu government in Rwanda.
At the roadblocks, the interahamwe separated the Hutu from the Tutsi and hacked the Tutsi to death with machetes on the sides of the roads.
However, the radio announcements were just designed to gather the Tutsi in one place for easier extermination. The Rwandan army was called in so that the killings could go quicker with machine guns and grenades.
Tutsi genocide survivor displaying machete wounds
By April 21, 1994 in just TWO WEEKS, as many as a quarter of a million Tutsi had been butchered and executed. By the end of April, according to some sources, ½ of the Tutsi population of Rwanda were dead.
Tutsi men and boys were the primary targets of the Hutu genocide. They were targeted because of their possible involvement in the RPF. Many Tutsi women were mutilated or raped instead of killed.
In Rwandan villages, some Hutu were forced to kill their Tutsi neighbors or face death. There were also instances of Tutsi being forced to kill their own families.
By mid May, there were a reported 500,000 deaths. Bodies of Tutsi were seen floating in all the major rivers.
Confronted with images on the news, the United Nations finally agreed to send 5000 troops into Rwanda, but there were delays and the troops never made it in time to stop the genocide.
On July 4, 1994 the Rwandan Patriotic Front succeeded in protecting a number of Tutsi from the Hutu gangs. The genocide finally came to an end on July 18, 1994.
Many of the Hutu responsible for the killing fled Rwanda. Some have been captured but many are still wanted by the new government of Rwanda for crimes against humanity.
In the four years of Hutu-led destruction, approximately 800,000-1 million Tutsi were killed. Only about 130,000 Tutsi survived. Almost 3/4th of the Tutsi population has been destroyed. Roughly 75-80% of the deaths were males.