Rwanda Genocide Causes

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The Rwandan Genocide is understood to be one of the biggest genocides of the 90s. The genocide was essentially the methodical eradication and murder of Rwanda’s Tutsi minority by its Hutu majority in 1994. Approximately up to one million civilians were systematically slaughtered, tortured, rape, and displaced (Uvin, 2001:75). For the purpose of this essay, genocide is defined as the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethical, racial or religious group” (Genocide Convention,). First, I will outline the debate concerning the causes of the Rwandan genocide. I will then analyse the factor of the Rwandan war (1990-1994) as the main cause of the genocide. I will conclude by showing the importance of identifying the historical and colonial causes which explain the Rwandan genocide. I…show more content…
The status of Hutu and Tutsi were social categories and not identifiers of descent (Mamdani, 2001:14). To be identified as a Tutsi meant to be identified with wealth and power; being a Hutu presumed the opposite. It is important, however, to note that these categories were neither rigid nor institutionalised (Hintjens, 1999:250). In this way, being born either a Hutu or Tutsi was not flexible: one could upgrade from Hutu to Tutsi and downgrade from Tutsi to Hutu.
Attributing the cause of the genocide to the Rwandan war is expressed by one key factor. Firstly, that it is civil war that creates the platform and rationale for genocide. This follows the construction of out-groups and in-groups where leaders create grievances towards the out-group. However, this understanding neglects the main factor which fuels the transmission of genocidal ideology from the regime to the masses: the already existent and longstanding institutionalised racism of the Rwanda society which was endorsed under the guise of colonialism and obedience to authority, rather from the occurrence of
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