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Lecture 20

HREQ 2010 Lecture 20: March 20

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Human Rights and Equity Studies
HREQ 2010
Paul Brienza

Rwanda and the World Community: -failure of the global community -the world community did not respond to the Rwandan genocide until the genocide was over and the goals of the genocide committers had been achieved Historical Background: -South Central Africa -its history and context leading up to the genocide are things very few people know about -thus, when the genocide occurred, there is a danger of interpreting the genocide as a unimaginable horror that was caused by savage behaviour -the roots of the genocide are to be found in the antagonistic relationship between two ethnic groups—the Tutsi and the Hutu -this ethnic division extends long into the past, but there was a perception that the Tutsi were not considered to be Natives of the area -the premise was that they may have migrated from the ‘horn of Africa’—or East Africa (include Ethiopia, Somalia, etc.) -the belief is that the Tutsi migrated from this part of Africa to the Rwandan nation -there is no real evidence for this -however, in terms of appearance, the Tutsis had a distinct look, as they resembled those from the Horn of Africa (there is a sense of physiognomic and ethnic difference) -the colonizers noticed this difference -for most the period leading up to European colonialism, the country was ruled by a Tutsi minority through a monarchical system (dynasty of Tutsi rulers) -the German colonizers applied ‘race theory’ to the country by claiming that the Tutsi were a ‘superior race’ in comparison to the Hutu within the context of that region of Africa -this kind of superiority was shown by the fact that the Tutsis ruled over the majority, the Hutus, who were slightly different in terms of their language group -this perception gained prominence -this convenient language of race was applied to the context of Africa (introduction of scientific racism by the Europeans) -they key element of racial theory is that there is a hierarchy of races (ranking system of races) -in that context, it serves various purposes -on the one hand, it serves the purpose of giving the European colonizers an ally (10-20% of the population was Tutsi: minority ruling group became associated with the colonizing forces of the Germans) -after the First World War, the colony was given to Belgium as a protectorate -the Belgians applied this scientific theory of race method, which intended to divide and conquer (use the minority to rule a majority) -this idea of difference was consistently driven by the European colonizers as a means of controlling the majority population) -the land was given to this minority population -the Belgians further enhanced the division between the tribes by mandating separate ID cards -2 major ethnic groups: everyone had to identify their ethnicity within the colonial Belgian context, thus these identities became more ingrained -European colonization for the majority of the Africa involved drawing boundaries on the map -many of the present-day borders were drawn by European colonial powers, which was not to reflect the ethnic tribal distinctions that exist in Africa, but rather, reflect the interests of the colonial powers -colonial rule, in essence, created ethnic separation and led to the two groups developing an intense hatred for each other -the Tutsis believed that they were superior given their relationship with the colonizers and gained a lot of the wealth -in contrast, because they reaped the benefits, the Hutus despised them -there was a conceived and perceived distinction between these two groups -when Belgian rule ended, much of the land and power were in the hands of the Tutsi while the Hutu were put in positions of forced labor -the colonial strategy was a classic tactic of ‘divide and conquer’ -although this marked the end of colonialism, there still exists an indicator of that colonial past (in the sense that the Tutsis are in political power and possess a majority of the land) -the fates and cultures of Rwanda and neighboring Burundi have always been closely linked -in 1972 there were mass killings of Hutu, which were carried out by a government and army controlled by the Tutsi -genocide in this particular case did not exist in merely 1 way or was not perpetrated by 1 side: there is this reciprocal relationship in the case of Rwanda -the use of the identity card continued until the post-colonial era -in the 1980’s many Tutsi refugees in Uganda were involved in trying to invade Rwanda and re- establish their ethnic dominance: by the time of the late 1970s, the Hutu majority becomes the majority in power, as they claim power -the Tutsis thus became an endangered minority and flee into the neighbouring countries -creation of an ideology: that ideology created from the Tutsi side extends back to the colonial era -however, from the Hutu side we see the emergence and development of an ideology that begins to assert its dominance -Hassan Ngeze published a text called the Hutu Ten Commandments which famously said, “The Hutu should stop having mercy on the Tutsi”: in this political grouping, they begin to see the Hutu majority or the vast majority of Rwanda as being too lenient with the Tutsi minority (they have taken
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