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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.

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rwandan genocide

Rwandan Genocide

“Leave none to tell the story”

definition of genocide
Definition of “Genocide”

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.

in this presentation you will learn about
In this presentation, you will learn about…
  • Brief History of the region of Rwanda and the formation of the Hutu and Tutsi tribal identification
  • The arrival of the Germans and Belgians (colonialism)
  • The explanation of a refugee
  • The Rwandan Genocide
brief history
Brief History

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.

brief history 1500s 1700s
Brief History (1500s-1700s)
  • A small number of people in the region began large scale cattle herding for their livelihood.
  • The region was productive and population grew, eventually becoming the most densely populated country in Africa.
brief history1
Brief History
  • As the population grew, the rulers began to measure the power of a person based on the number of their cattle.
  • Kingdoms would often go to war to gain grazing land or opponent's cattle. The amount of cattle owned directly tied to personal wealth.
brief history2
Brief History
  • Over time the rich and elite large scale herders began to consider themselves superior to ordinary people who owned little or no cattle.
  • The word “Tutsi” (a person rich in cattle) referred to the elite group of people (about 15% of the population), while the word “Hutu” (a follower or subordinate) came to refer to the mass of ordinary people (about 85% of the population).
  • By the 1800s, most Rwandans married within the group that they were classified in, however intermarriage did occur.
  • The Germans and the Belgians arrived in the 1900s and wanted to control/rule Rwanda.
  • The Belgians saw the differences in society in Rwanda between the Tutsi and Hutu, and felt it would be simplest to continue the division.
  • The Belgians also claimed that the Tutsi “looked more European” and used this fact as evidence of their superiority. The Belgians forced a Tutsi monopoly in government in the 1920s.
  • As the years went on in Rwanda (1920-1940s), the Tutsi (the minority) grew more and more powerful. They were the only groups in Rwanda to be allowed higher education. They had special laws and rights.
  • The Hutu groups in Rwanda began to believe that the Tutsi were superior.

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.

colonialism and revolution
Colonialism and Revolution
  • 1950s: Belgians left Rwanda and it was considered independent.
  • Before the Belgians left, they replaced about ½ of the Tutsi leadership with Hutus.
  • The Hutus attacked some of the Tutsi who refused to leave power in Rwanda. Hundreds were killed and tens of thousands of Tutsi left Rwanda (refugees).
  • Over the next decade (1960s), both sides attacked each other in many battles. It was civil war in Rwanda and the surrounding regions.

Hutu revolution poster “What weapons will we use to defeat the cockroaches (Tutsi)?”

post hutu revolution
Post Hutu “Revolution”
  • By 1967 some 20,000 Tutsi were killed by the Hutu majority and over 300,000 were forced to leave Rwanda (refugees).
  • The Hutu gained by killing or forcing the Tutsi to leave Rwanda
  • The overall population of Tutsi in Rwanda went from 15% to only 8% in the span of 30 years.

Tutsi refugee camp

Tutsi refugees traveling to Uganda

refugee numbers grow
Refugee numbers grow

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.

a spark to genocide
A Spark to Genocide
  • On April 6, 1994, the Hutu president of Rwanda was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. Responsibility for the assassination was never solved.
  • However, the Hutu majority in Rwanda took this assassination as an opportunity to rid the nation of all Tutsi.
  • Within 24 hours of the President’s death roadblocks were set up all throughout Rwanda manned by Hutu interahamwe (those who attack together).
genocide begins
Genocide begins

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.

genocide continues
Genocide continues
  • Hutu governmental radio encouraged the Tutsi to gather at churches, schools and stadiums.
  • The Tutsi were told they would be safe there from the gangs of Hutus armed with knives and machetes.
genocide continues1
Genocide continues

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

genocide continued
Genocide continued

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.

genocide continued1
Genocide continued

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.

genocide ends
Genocide ends

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.