rwanda

Genocide of Tutsi in Rwanda (1994)

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.

Btw, I am Belgian and Rwandan.

Rwanda. 2014. Kiki Katese lost her family during the genocide when around one million people died. In theaftermath, she was determined to help survivorsdeal with the trauma. So, she started the first all-women drumming group, where tribal allegiance is left at the door and women stand proudly together. © Michael Christopher Brown/Magnum Photos

molagbalsdeep  asked:

Africa is so beautiful. Where would you recommend to someone who wants to visit for the first time? (Every country looks gorgeous, but which are the most welcoming?)

It depends on what you’re looking for during your visit/ what you’re into. Of course the most popular countries (South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Morocco, Kenya & Egypt) attract the most people but I think there are alot of hidden gems in many other countries worth exploring as well. 

Here are a few…

Lake Rebta  (Senegal)


Lake Retba or Lac Rose lies north east of Senegal’s capital Dakar. The water in Senegal’s Lake Retba always seems to have a pinkish hue to it. The lake’s unusual appearance is caused by a salt-loving green micro alga called Dunaliella Salina that resides in the lake, known for its high concentration of the mineral. The color is particularly visible during the dry summer months when the saline levels are high and you will see it turn strawberry pink and sometimes, even red. 


The Devil’s Pool (Zambia)

Devil’s Pool is adjacent to the famous Livingstone Island situated on the edge of the Victoria Falls. Guests can choose to enjoy an exhilarating swim to the edge of the falls during their Livingstone Island visit. The Devil’s Pool is usually open between mid August and mid January - depending on Zambezi water levels.

Marrakech, Morocco 

The city is divided into two distinct parts: the Medina, the historical city, and the new modern district called Gueliz or Ville Nouvelle. The Medina is full of intertwining narrow passageways and local shops full of character. In contrast, Gueliz plays host to modern restaurants, fast food chains and big brand stores.


Virunga Mountains (Rwanda, Congo (DRC) & Uganda)

Nearly half of the world’s 700-some remaining mountain gorillas live in the Virunga Mountains of central Africa, at the intersection of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The volcanic slopes here are lush with tropical forests and diverse mammal, bird, and reptile species. Tours are available to see the volcanos and gorillas (but please take note & high consideration…if you’re sick….don’t go on the gorilla tours, for their sake ( they’re endangered), even if it’s a small fever).

Zanzibar (Tanzania)

In Zanzibar to ancient Persia and tales of Shirazi merchants that inspired Sinbad the Sailor, to the court of Swahili princes and Omani sultans, to India, with its heavily laden scents.

For over 2000 years the monsoon winds have shaped the landscape and culture of these islands. Stone Town’s Indo-Arabian architecture provides an amazing urban backdrop. Clove farms creep up the hillsides and farmers load crates of mangoes onto outbound boats. And, along the coast, village life remains steeped in tradition as fishing dhows set sail on high tides and women farm seaweed off powder-white coral sand. With its tropical tableau and unique culture, the archipelago offers the quintessential Indian Ocean experience.

Loango National Park (Gabon)

Many nature lovers well acquainted with the African continent consider Gabon a rare and exotic tropical gem. Wildlife rich forests cover 70% of Gabon’s landmass, its vast picturesque coastline is predominantly wild and unspoiled, and its inland and coastal waters teem with myriad species of fish, reptiles and marine mammals. In Loango National park you can spot various animals from hippos to whales!

Ouidah (Benin)

Some 42km west of Cotonou is Ouidah, a relaxed, relatively prosperous town and a must-see for anyone interested in voodoo or Benin’s history of slavery. From the 17th to the late 19th century, captured countrymen from across West Africa left Ouidah for the Americas.

The Problem with News as Entertainment

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.

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