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The Rwandan Genocide can trace back to the divide and creation of the classification between Hutu and Tutsi which initially was just a distinction between classes, with the Tutsi being the more economically superior herdsman, and the Hutu being the poorer farmers. Rwanda was run in a caste system similar to India's, where you were born into your role in society, Tutsi's were considered the higher class, Hutu was the lesser class and the Twa were the even lesser class. But as European influence began to inhabit the area more and more, Hutu and Tutsi became more and more a racial classification. As soon as the Belgians colonized the area, the racial divide started becoming more and more evident. The colonizers started issuing identity cards in 1926, and it slowly became compulsory to have one if you were a Rwandan. According to a census done by the Belgians, 85% of the country was Hutu, 14% was Tutsi, and the remaining 1% were Twa (an indigenous pygmy group). As the years progressed, there existed a power struggle between both the Hutu and Tutsi in governmental powers, because of this, there grew a constant state of violence between the Hutu and Tutsi which were continually sparked because of changing colonial favoritism of either group. In 1957, the brought down Hutu's, publish a Hutu manifesto denouncing the Rwandan King and his no care policy towards the Hutu's. Once the king dies in 1959, the Tutsi's suspect foul play, but the Hutu's reach majority government the next year. By 1961, a joint Hutu-Tutsi government is established and monarchy is removed; but it fails to cease the political violence amongst the two groups.

1962 saw Rwanda's first presidential election; but because the Hutu were more prevalent, a pro Hutu emancipation party was elected. Grégoire Kayibanda, the leader of the party who was elected presented, begins to downplay the roles of Tutsi's in society. Around this time, Tutsi's start being referred to as "cockroaches" and the killing of Tutsi's become more and more an everyday way of life for the Hutu. As the Tutsi try to immigrate to neighboring countries, they are declined and are forced to return to Rwanda; refugees are also deported. After an attempt by Tutsi guerrilla forces to replace the government fails in 1963, a campaign was coordinated to kill 14,000 Tutsi's in the province Gikongoro. By 1973, Kayibanda is removed from power and Major General Juvenal Habyarimana is put in as president. In the beginning of his term, he begins to become a moderate and eases the tensions between the two parties but later leads an even more racist, and anti-Tutsi regime due to his advisors being Hutu Extremists. In 1991 Habyarimana manages to repel several Tutsi lead Rwandan Patriotic Front coups, and leads him to slowly become more and more hostile towards them.

By 1991, a strongly anti-Tutsi newspaper is published, and issues an article containing 8 Hutu commandments that ask for dishonesty, hostility and no mercy towards any Tutsi - Hutu power becomes a slogan for every Hutu. President Habyarimana then creates a militia called the Interahamwe solely with the task of finding, looting and burning the houses of Tutsi's or Hutu sympathizers in order to scare them even more to leave the country. By this time, Ethnic violence increases rapidly with the help of Propaganda radio. After more than a decade of violence, 1993 saw a short lived peace treaty between president Habyarimana and the Rwandan Patriotic Front. The Arusha Accords as they became know to be called, called for the acceptance of all Tutsi refugees and a government wherein the RPF were represented. For the months that followed, it looked like the Tutsi were finally going to get the peace and equality they deserved.

1994 saw the savage and bloody conclusion of the Hutu and Tutsi conflict. On April 6, a rocket was fired upon a plane that contained the president of Burundi, and president Habyarimana killing both men. It was definitely the result of Hutu extremists retaliation for Habyarimana's support of the Tutsi, but the Tutsi's are blamed for the assassination. This resulted in the ordered killings of millions of Tutsi people, after an issue on the radio for a "national cleansing day". In the months that followed, the interahawamwe and normal Hutu citizens walked out of their everyday jobs and homes to kill anyone whose identity card read "Tutsi". For 4 months, endless slaughter and unnecessary local violence ravaged Rwanda, in every province except in Butare, which was the only opposition dominated area.

In terms of ferocity, the Rwandan Genocide is by far one of the worst to ever occur. It killed nearly a million people, during the span of a hundred days, solely because it was a conflict that was brewing for many years, and because it wasn't only armed militias that committed the killings, but also everyday citizens. It was practically a nation-wide murder of any minorities. Imagine yourself in a situation where your entire family was ridiculed in society solely because of your race; and you left your home each and everyday fearing for your own life. There are countless stories where normal people became instant murderers because they fell into the propaganda that allowed it.
The Genocide

Of the 800,000 people that were killed, 300,000 of them were children [1]. The Genocide did more than kill a large fraction of the Rwandan population, its ruined the entire society as a whole. And as a result, only 20% of Rwanda's population are males, leaving many families absent of fathers and male figures to thousands of children. To add to that many families were killed, and helped create thousands of orphans in the country - entire lineages were removed from history. More than 2 million Hutu's participated in the mass slaughter and because of this , it was hard to prosecute people because of the sheer scale. So the murderers, and rapists continue to walk the streets while children take their routine walk to school everyday. To be a child witnessing all those atrocities had also been psychologically scarring, leaving many kids with long term post-traumatic stress; becoming incredibly anti-social, in a constant state of fear or aggressive towards anyone. They continue to live in a society where they believe it could happen again, and have to leave their homes in the same state of fear despite increased security and Tutsi majority. Reintegration continues to be a problem because survivors, live in houses neighboring their rapists or attempted murders.

Despite a few instances in economic growth in Rwanda, it still continues to live in poverty. With a high poverty rate, many homes continue to live without the basic necessities of life. Education, is still a problem where a mere 17% of the youth population are still unable to reach secondary schooling. According to a human development index created in 2010 by the United Nations, Rwanda sits at #150 in terms of life expectancy, education, and gross national income at a level of low human development[2]. The Hutu expected a better future once the Tutsi were removed, but if you look at the state of the country now, the country is still struggling to rebuild and grow.

Signs of growth
A group known as Ndiho-Revivo, has helped and is helping the orphaned children of the genocide to grow within a family oriented atmosphere by coupling them with single mothers who have lost their children or putting them in houses with other orphans to help one another. In order to prevent the genocide from starting again, Rwanda has banned any ethnic violence or any mention of any ethnic identity. To everyone in the country, everyone and anyone is considered a "Rwandan" not a Tutsi or a Hutu . Aid in Rwanda has moved quickly from emergency assistance to long term economical development programs. Despite continuing to struggle to rebuild, Rwanda is seeing strides of rapid development: in education with the literacy rate rising from 58% in 1991 to 78% 2009[3], plans to provide internet bandwidth throughout the country have been set by the government making it one of the most technologically superior countries in Africa[4] and has seen a 7.5 growth rate in the economy in 2010 [5]


The Effect On The Youth Population

The political environment that existed in Rwanda is what lead to the eventual genocide in 1994. If ethnicity was never turned into such a political ideology, it would have never ended as violently as it did.

The term Hutu and Tutsi never resulted into an ethnic divide until the Belgian colonists came into the area, issuing identity cards. By issuing the identity cards, the Belgians created a superficial identity between the people in the country despite the fact that they were all Rwandans. Today, scholars continue to dis-believe the existence of an actual difference between the two groups. Issuing the identity cards created a divided country who constantly fought each other, and Belgian favoritism was what made the tensions even worse. The idea of imperialism, i believe does more harm than extend power to another country. Throughout all the stories of imperialists extending their power to other countries that iv'e read, they never have had a really long lifespan or stories of successes, but have instead ended more violently because of various political failures. Imperialism states that by extending its power to another country, it would help that country out economically, politically and ease ties between the two countries. Although the latter might seem true, its more to me a selfish idea of controlling another country. The true goal of imperialism to me is usually to rid a country dry of its resources, or use the area for their own strategic advantage without any gain to the country itself. I think that because Belgium had inherited the country from Germany after the war, they never really made themselves fully realize the ethnic violence that existed in the area or had any care for it in the first place, which is why the ethnic violence ended the way it did.

They say things don't end until they reach their perspective limits, and thats exactly what the Rwandan genocide was. It was the culmination of decades of hatred and fighting that caused the Hutu extremists to do what they did. At first the Tutsi's took power through the monarchy and took advantage of the Hutu people in the 1940's. Once the Hutu people felt downplayed in society, they took the initiative as soon as Rwanda gained independence and elected Hutu emancipation leader Gregoire Kayibanda as president. When Kayibanda took power, he led a ruthless dictatorship and hostility towards the Tutsi as a result of the years of dis-empowerment of the Hutu people. Once he was able to take full control in the government he removed any opposition and was unsympathetic to any Tutsi people, almost removing them entirely from the country in a way. Because the political environment was built on race, it resulted to the deaths of thousands of people during his regime. When Kayibanda was finally ousted from government, Juvenal Habyarimana was elected and for the first years of his power was able to ease the tension between the two groups. But because his advisees were mainly Hutu extremists, he later lead also a rule that was plagued with ethnic hatred towards the Tutsi people. Rwandan political history in the 20th century was packed full of power struggles between the Hutu and Tutsi people, which is why it ended the way it did. If racism did not exist, it would have been far more fruitful in the country.

The Tutsi's met their demise at the end of the of the power struggle because they ended up being the minority in the country. Imagine if our country was ruled by the Ku Klux Klan or a neo-nazi equivalent, the country would be in shambles because other ethnicities count for almost half of the entire country! But this was the exact political environment in Rwanda at the time, it was a country whose political ideologies were based on ethnic divide. By focusing on one group and less to the other, it created a rift in the balance of society because not everyone was satisfied. No country will ever survive if it bases itself on racism. Today luckily, the Rwandan Patriotic Fund continues to practice a zero tolerance policy on racism. The government is ruled by Hutu's and Tutsi's, but the classification no longer applies to anybody.
The Politics of Racism

While browsing news stories on the internet, i came across this interesting website that posted pictures and stories of several women who were raped during the genocide and forced to raise the children that came from it. During the Rwandan genocide, an estimated quarter to half a million women were raped, gang raped or raped with objects.

"The special Rapporteur on Rwanda has reported that arou
nd 2000 - 5000 women in Rwanda have become pregnant as a result of rape" [1]


The following is a sample of a series of pictures and stories by Jonathan Torgovnik, and is taken from here

Children Born of Rape

Many of us have the privilege to live in a country that sits well above the poverty line and are able to live in a society where ethnic violence is nearly nonexistent. In order for a country as beautiful as Rwanda, to reach the same level of prosperity, we have to learn to give as much as we can.
A Better Tomorow

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