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the 6th day of November 1994, an evening when the entire population of Rwanda, thirsty for good news, was waiting for the arrival of their president, Juvénal Habyarimana, terror happened. The plane conveying Mr. President blew into pieces in the middle of the air a few minutes away from the airport. The incidents that followed would still be fresh in the minds of all Rwandans even after many years. Mobs in their thousands, armed with all manner of sharp objects, including locally made guns, hit the streets and brutally murdered anyone in their path. Women and children, sick or well, the classification doesn’t matter as long as you are from a livestock family; it’s your death day.

Africa is home to thousands of tribes, each with a distinct culture. Even though this disparity in culture has been a benefit for the continent for an unprecedented length of time, history has information on the bloody fights that happened due to these disparities. One such is the 1994 Rwanda genocide, whose consequences are still felt to this very day. This story, told with emotion to children, serves as an incentive to promote peace within the land.

In central Africa, neighboring Uganda, Rwanda houses 14 million people, divided into two distinct tribes. The majority Hutus (farmers) and the minority Tutsi (Herders). There isn’t much difference between the two tribes; just like the most other prominent African tribes like the Yoruba and Hausa, occupation is one factor that simplified these people. They speak the same language and therefore the same culture. Due to the will of power and absolute control, Belgium and Germany colonized this small country and this substantially widen the peace gap that exited between them. Furthermore, these colonial masters cooked up some minor differences existing within the two tribes; body height, beauty, culture, occupation were the major factors. Racial identity cards were given to each native.

The Hutus were overly favored by the Europeans; they get a better education, military equipment, and a table at the conference of power. Tutsi, on the other hand, were drained of power and were forced to obey every command issued by their counterpart. These depressed herders rioted many times to be recognized and treated equally, but their small population did little or nothing; only death and suffering were all they got. This colonialism instigated racial hatred then continued between the black men for many years, and periodic violence such as the assassination of key leaders of the Tutsi was recorded.

Interior of Catholic Church Genocide Memorial Site with Piled Clothes of Victims – Nyamata – Rwanda (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

After several decades of complete dominance and pain for the country, Belgium and Germany were ready to leave. 1962 marked the liberation year for Rwanda in general, however, not for the Tutsis, whose suffering and slave live style only began. As expected, Hutus won the first presidential election, held just after the departure of the Europeans. All top government and military positions were filled with natives from the Hutus, loyal to the agenda of the president. Anger, resentment, and the will to breakthrough tough times pushed Tutsi to a point of no return.

A congress of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) filled with indigenes from the Tutsi tribe, exiled by Europeans and the leading Hutus government concentrated in Uganda began executing series of attacks in the country, with the sole aim of overtaking the Hutu led government. A bloody conflict between brothers led to the death of so many people; overwhelming casualties were recorded on both sides. It took three years to reach an agreement; the then President of Rwanda, Juvénal Habyarimana, in 1993, signed the Arusha Peace Accord with the RPF. Coupled with the share of political power between the two factions, military position, education and job opportunities were to be divided fairly with transparency. As contained in the agreement.

Ntrama Church – Remains and clothing (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Unfortunately, the agreement did nothing. Many powerhouses on both sides claim that the accord was not meant to be; at least not it contents. The criminal who ended the president live and the lives on his cabinet just before they landed was never confirmed. Nevertheless, Hutus saw this as an opportunity, blaming the Tutsi for the act, the president’s death served as an incentive to a bloody war. Military personnel, and the general public from the Hutus invaded communities inhabited by the Tutsis. Tribal concentration at a location practiced in Africa and the racial identification established by the colonial masters paved the way for quick and mass slaughter of the Tutsis. Radio transmission were used to broadcast the number of death and the progress recorded so far. In the wake of the invasion over 800,000 people have been beheaded, set ablaze, macheted or raped to death. The RPF led by Paul Kagame, the now president was able to bring the genocide to an end after 100 days of war.

Troops from the United Nation. (Source: Reuters)

Situations like this often require one to wonder where international bodies such as the United Nation are. The UN, in particular, demotivates international engagement in the genocide. They labeled the crisis as a mere internal conflict that should be resolved internally. Notwithstanding, it took so much politicking, with over 700,000 death, before outside troops and peacekeepers from the UN landed in Rwanda. Rwanda genocide is one of the deadliest genocide globally, the biggest ethnic conflict in Africa, an incident the general population of Rwanda commemorates every year.

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