I haven’t seen a post that really depicts the history of Rwanda yet. So here’s my little contribution. By the way, thanks for the posts you reblogged.
Before the colonization, Rwanda was made of three social classes : Tutsi (10-15%), Hutu (over 80%) and Twa (less than 1%). Tutsi (upper social class) were cattle breeders, Hutu were farmers and Twa (lower social class) were hunters. One could become Tutsi or Hutu by marriage for example. They all had the same language, same religion and same culture.
German settlers arrived in Rwanda in the end of 19th century. They thought that Tutsi were more intelligent and more beautiful (according to European beauty standards of course : tall, skinny, light-skinned, thin nose, thin lips etc.). They thought that Hutu were boor, stupid and ugly (again, according to European beauty standards : shorter, huge lips, large nose etc). Twa were very short and seen as a species between humans and monkeys. After losing WWI, Germany gave Rwanda (and Burundi, which is like the twin of Rwanda with same language, same social classes etc) to Belgium. Belgians thought the same as Germans and started to gather all Rwandans and measure their height, their nose, etc to see if they were from the superior race (aka Tutsi) or inferior race (aka Hutu (or Twa but Twa were a very small minority)). Because of that, some Hutu became Tutsi just because they “looked” Tutsi and vice versa. Belgians privileged Tutsi over Hutu. They said only Tutsi could rule the country because they were the only intelligent ones. Tutsi were privileged in administration, education etc. Eventually in the 50s, Tutsi Rwandans asked for independence and Belgians didn’t want to lose their colony so they started to talk to Hutu who’d been discriminated against for a few decades. They said : “Look how Tutsi despise you! They think only they can rule the country but this country is yours! They don’t even come from here, they stole your land (there’s a myth saying that Twa were the first inhabitants in Rwanda, Hutu came from West Africa and Tutsi were the last ones to arrive in Rwanda and forced Hutu to subject to them). You have to rebel against Tutsi supremacy!” So that’s what Hutu did in 1959. The Tutsi King fled. Hutu killed thousands of Tutsi with the support of Belgian settlers and Catholic church, and hundreds thousands of Tutsi had to flee to Uganda and Tanzania. Rwanda became a Republic in 1961 and Rwandans elected a Hutu president named Kayibanda. Finally Rwanda became independent in 1962.
The president Kayibanda was an extremist and under his leadership, thousands of Tutsi were killed in 1963 and in 1972, just for being Tutsi. Their homes were burnt, they were stolen and beaten up. They were fired from their jobs, fired from schools. And hundreds thousands of them fled outside the country. In 1973, a Hutu man staged a coup d'état and became president. His name’s Habyiarimana He seemed a little bit more accepting of Tutsi but he still didn’t want the Tutsi exiles to come back. Because of that, the Tutsi exiles with the help of Hutu political opponents who had also fled created an army called PRF (Patriotic Rwandan Front) to come back to Rwanda by force, in 1987. The PRF declared war against the Rwandan government in 1990 and the war went on until 1994. During those 4 years, innocent Tutsi were killed or imprisonned by the government every time PRF tried to attack the government army. There was a huge propaganda against Tutsi (through the Radio for example) and that propaganda made Hutu think that Tutsi wanted to take back the power like under the Belgian colonization. Therefore, every Tutsi was an enemy.
On April 6, 1994, the president’s plane was shot down. Hutu extremists might be responisble for that. The day after, moderate Hutu were killed by extremist Hutu and the genocide of Tutsi started, which made about 1 million victims in 3 months. Rwanda’s population was about 7 millions at that time. The genocide was planned and organised by the Hutu extremist government (as I said, the moderate members were killed) and executed by militia who recruited Hutu civilians and gave them machetes, grenades, and guns.
France had been an ally of Rwanda since its independence. France helped Rwanda fight back against the PRF during the war until end of 1993. France also trained Rwandan soliders (the army was made of 5,000 men in 1990 and 35,000 men in 1994 because of France). France gave arms and ammunition to Rwanda even after the genocide started. France never asked President Habyirimana to stop discrimination and killings of Tutsi. Actually the French President and Habyirimana were good friends. In June 1994, France decided to take action in Rwanda, officially to save Tutsi but its intention is very contested today and we think their main goal was to not let the PRF win the war, because if they did, Rwanda would become English-speaking (PRF was made of people who grew up in Uganda and Tanzania so they spoke English) instead of French-speaking and France still wanted Rwanda to be French-speaking so that they could have an influence on it. The thing is the PRF was actually liberating Tutsi by chasing the Hutu extremist killers so fighting against them meant letting more Tutsi being killed. France or French politicians have never been sentenced for that.
Belgium also was an ally of Rwanda until 1991 when they stopped supporting Rwanda because of the murders of Tutsi.
While the genocide was happening, even though everyone knew it was a genocide, the UN didn’t want to admit it was, because otherwise they would have had to take action and almost no country wanted to send their soldiers to Rwanda.
I really, really, wanted to emphasize some things: 1. Colonization played a big role in Rwanda self-destruction 2. Tutsi were discriminated against and killed for years before the genocide of 1994 happened 3. The genocide didn’t happen because the president’s plane was shot down. Extermination plans were already known by France and UN for months/years. It is important to remember that, because in the West, people like to think that Hutu turned crazy just because their president was killed and it doesn’t really surprise anyone because “Africans are savage and violent and uncivilised anyways”. 4. The genocide could have been avoided or at least there could have been way less victims if the UN and the rest of the world had cared about the 1 million innocent people who were being slaughtered (mostly Tutsi but also Hutu who tried to protect Tutsi)
If anyone wants to ask questions I’ll be glad to answer.
In 1994, over the short span of a few months, approximately 1 million Rwandan Tutsi were murdered by their Hutu neighbours. Losing a war to the expatriate Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). the Hutu dominated government was forced to the negotiating table. Assassinated after having to make concessions, Hutu president Habyarimana was most likely killed by extremist members of his own government. Widespread killing broke out within hours as soldiers, police and militia groups began massacring Tutsi citizens. As opposed to the industrialised killing of the holocaust, the Rwandan genocide involved much more personalised murder with many victims being killed individually with machetes. The killing eventually ceased when the Hutu government fell to the RPF.
‘Evil’ behaviours can be categorised into four basic groups – and they are far from being unique to our species
By Lucy Jones
Evil, it can seem, is all around us. Hitler. The Rwandan genocide. Ted Bundy. Every time you read the news or watch television, bad behaviour that causes harm is on display.
These days, the word ‘evil’ has religious connotations. It’s tied up with morality and transgressions against the will of a divine being. But in its original Old English it meant anything that was simply bad, vicious or cruel.
C: So I guess if Samuel L. Jackson is saying that an American black man would added more to the role of “Get Out” than a British black man, can we then retract Don Cheadle’s involvement of Hotel Rwanda since he never experienced the genocide of Rwandans? Or can we erase Morgan Freeman’s involvement of Invictus since he never experienced Apartheid like Mandela did? Since, you know, an actor has to ethnically match the role they’re playing. Maybe J. Lo shouldn’t have played Selena, either.
The media, specifically news coverage, shows us and keeps us informed on what is happening in the world. There are many types of news: newspapers, magazines, TV channels… but at what point does news coverage actually become entertainment? And how do news channels MARKET their news for the consumer? It’s time to re-think what we’ve always seen.
Don Cheadle, actor, film producer and philanthropist rose to prominence in the late 1990s and the early 2000s. His lead role as a Rwandan hotel manager in the genocide drama film Hotel Rwanda earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. He also campaigns for the end of genocide in Darfur, Sudan, and co-authored a book concerning the issue titled Not On Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond.
“Violence isn’t the answer, you need to talk this out like civilized people”
NO YOU CAN’T. YOU CAN’T TALK TO NAZIS. YOU KNOW WHY??
BECAUSE THEY DON’T WANT TO TALK.
You can’t have a conversation with someone who doesn’t want to talk. You can’t force someone to have a conversation you fucking idiots!! And someone who believes that entire races of people are ‘unnecessary’ and should literally die is not going to sit across a coffee table from a Jew or a Black person and actually listen to them. Jesus shit how naive are you? Even if they talked to a Christian White who disagreed with them, they’re not going to change their mind.
Do you really think they have NEVER heard counterarguments? Do you think they just don’t know that their ‘opinions’ are dangerous and that people don’t like them? Did you think that literally never have they realized that what they’re doing is not nice? That it’s naughty? So if someone just told them that they’d pack up and go home and stop being Nazis forever?
There are times that people have talked down White Supremacists, but look the fuck around: Synagogues are still getting bomb threats, still getting bombed. Black people are still fighting for the right to be seen as human, and are still getting killed. Muslims, LGBT people, all of them STILL do not have equal rights so there are STILL plenty of people who think they don’t deserve to live.
WE’VE BEEN TALKING. WE NEVER STOPPED TALKING.
Nazis know. They don’t care.
Do you think no one tried to dissuade Hitler? That all of Germany was just like “well we can’t talk to a single Nazi so let’s just do Nothing”? Do you think that no Jews stood up and protested ‘civilly’? Do you think no one from the Armenian Genocide, The Rwandan Genocide, the Native American Genocide, and countless others, no one tried to use ‘words’ for their cause?
You arrogant little pissants think you’re the only people wise enough to go ‘Aha! I will TALK to the genocidal Fascists! No one has tried that before!’
SHUT THE FUCK UP! You little fandom inactivists sit on the computer all day watching bullshit and talking bullshit and have 0 idea of how the real world works or has worked. You’re idiots and fools the lot of you and nothing you say is even remotely well thought out or applicable to reality. You’re a child in a fantasy land come to try and ‘inform’ people in the real world how to deal with a threat you have never ever in your LIFE come CLOSE to being threatened by.
Shut the fuck up, your words are worthless and stupid.
Human beings are masters of making excuses. It seems to be an innate skill regardless of culture. But may I propose a point that I’ve been pondering? If you said yes, thank you. Although that wasn’t necessary since I can’t hear you. If you said no, you’re probably no longer reading this.
The point. A good majority, if not all, of the great atrocities man has perpetrated are due to a lack of information. Not ignorance. Ignorance implies that the necessary knowledge is available but not applied.
From the establishment of patriarchies to witch hunts, pogroms, crusades, wars, genocides to ecological devastation, much of it was done by people who had no facts, only distorted analysis and very little understanding of their own world. Their world was frightening, incomprehensible and very small. Gods rose to give a face to mysterious forces, and by having them assume some physical incarnation, even if deified, it implied that there were reasons and some sort of order. Think about it this way. As a child the world is huge and there are more rules than you can count. Adults, and parents in particular, serve as a stable anchoring point and source of security. You don’t have to know everything. Mom and Dad are there. So imagine being a child forever, with no adults to be found. Ever. You’ll turn to gods, or those who claim to see the pattern and know the rules.
But even as societies emerged and knowledge accumulated, it was still fragmented. Distribution was variable, interpretations malleable. Comparison and correlations were very limited. Evolving from a tribal background where survival is difficult and any outsiders competing for resources a threat, it was to be expected that each group believed itself right, and anyone with a different narrative was wrong. You see, no single individual could commit atrocities, but a small group twisting information could create the environment within which they could happen. The genocides in Armenia, Rwanda, Cambodia and those committed by Germany in World War Two were not spontaneous acts of mass communal decision. People looking to make excuses for societal issues chose an outside group to blame and spread their distorted message until it was so widespread it took on the aura of truth. Otherwise sane and normal people chose to accept the logic of hate because it simplified a confusing world.
To clarify my point. Throughout history the dissemination of information has been limited. It no longer is. We are in the Information Age. Granted, the entire world is not a homogeneous system with all cultures at a similar level. The Rwandan Genocide happened in 1994. Additionally,
the internet is wonderfully (or awfully) suited to spreading misinformation. But the old excuse of “we didn’t know..” won’t fly anymore. You can choose not to know, refuse to know or refuse to believe, but the facts can be found now by anyone who chooses to look. Lack of information is gone as a justification. When you demonize those different from yourself now, it is only ignorance you can lay claim to. The uneducated can learn. But the ignorant defy fact, logic and reason to create a narrative of anger and hate, and history will not forgive you for that.