Rwandan Genocide

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The Rwandan Genocide was the killing in the central African nation of Rwanda of abatutsi as well as abahutu.

Common mistake[change | edit source]

Though many people think the slaughter took place only from April 6th to mid-July in 1994, the genocide had been happening on a smaller scale since the so-called Hutu Revolution in 1959.

Trivia[change | edit source]

It was five times faster than the Holocaust, and was carried out mostly by tools like imipanga (machetes) and clubs. Many countries did almost nothing to stop it, and some countries, such as France, even made the mistake of helping the génocidaires. France and Rwanda decided to restore diplomatic ties again in November 2009.[1]

1994[change | edit source]

The 1994 genocide started when the airplane of Hutu Rwandan dictator Juvénal Habyarimana was shot down on the night of April 6th. It is still not known who shot the plane down, but some people believe that Hutu extremists shot it down in order to make Hutu supporters angry and start the 1994 genocide. Within a half an hour, roadblocks had been set up all over Kigali by the Hutu extremist Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi militias.

Intervention[change | edit source]

They and the army soon began going house to house in Kigali, killing abatutsi (whom the killers called inyenzi meaning 'cockroaches') and moderate abahutu. By morning on April 7th the killings had reached full swing in Kigali. Interahamwe were running around with bloody tools killing and looting. Other countries' journalists were able to film many of these things. Abatutsi gathered in places they thought would be safe, like schools and churches. In a few days, the genocide had spread all over the country. Three days later, Westerners were taken away while Rwandans were forced to stay behind.

Example[change | edit source]

One memorable case was at Rwanda's only psychiatric hospital, which had been surrounded by the Interahamwe. Belgian soldiers came to take away Westerners to safety. Journalists had come with them to film what happened. A large group of abatutsi came running out with their hands raised, asking for help. A few of them who could speak French tried negotiating with the soldiers for help. But the soldiers would not let them come. As they left, they could clearly see the Interahamwe starting to kill the batutsi. Similar things happened all over Rwanda.

Recovery[change | edit source]

Recovery has been slow but significant. A gacaca court system has been established to try the killers. A lot of victims are starting to forgive the killers, and it is widely said that the first step to preventing it from happening again is forgiveness instead of vengeance.

References[change | edit source]

  1. New York Times, 29.11.09

Other websites[change | edit source]