Interethnic Conflict In Rwanda

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The Rwandans have had a long-standing tradition of interethnic conflicts, that reached its peak in 1994 with the Rwandan genocide. To understand the reasons for this genocide, as well as the lasting effects it has had on the interethnic relations of the Rwandans, the background on how these relations began must first be analyzed. It was reported in 1991, three years before the genocide, that there were approximately 7.7 million people living in Rwanda (Longman, 2009). There are three major ethnic groups within this population, and the 1991 census reports of the 7.7 million people, 90% were Hutu, 9% were Tutsi, and 1% were Twa (Longman, 2009). This is important to note, as the largest conflict was between the Hutu and the Tutsi. Most scholars…show more content…
For many years following, the Hutu were able to keep their power through violence and coercion (Longman, 2009). Their most widely used tactic to maintain power was deflection of dissatisfaction onto the Tutsi (Longman, 1995). It was extremely easy for the Hutu to accomplish this, as there were no Tutsi people in important communal positions (Longman, 1995). Additionally, no Hutu had forgotten the past exploitation of their people at the hands of the Tutsi (Longman, 1995). This normalization of violence and hatred to maintain control set a precedent for the genocide of the Tutsi in 1994. The Rwandan genocide was the moment in which the interethnic conflict between the Hutu and the Tutsi came to a boiling point. The Hutu, scared of losing their power and angry about the assassination of the first Hutu president in Burundi, committed genocide against the Tutsi people in Rwanda (Longman, 2009). Following this, the Hutus responsible for carrying out this extreme act of violence fled to Congo, where they continued to attack the Tutsi (Longman, 2009). Presently, 23 years after the genocide, the Rwandan government works not to acknowledge the differences between the Hutu and Tutsi (Mamdani, 2001). There has been a push for a singular community defined by the language of Kinyarwanda (Mamdani, 2001). Despite this, there are still tensions that come into play due to the history behind the relationship between Hutu and
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