Rwanda: Genocide Of 94 Essay, Research Paper
In the year of Nineteen hundred and ninety four a great injustice was done totwo minority groups in Rwanda know as Tutsi and Twa . In this piece severaldifferent issues will be addressed all concerning Rwanda and the eventssurrounding the genocide of 1994. The issues range from the controversial bookwritten by Philip Gourivich, We Wish to inform you that tomorrow we will bekilled with our families , to the fax sent to the UN Peacekeeping Council days beforethe massacre predicting the events to come, to the UN and US involvement or lackthere of in the Rwandan situation. Before embarking on these issue let us first define genocide so that there canbe no confusion, this definition was taken from the United Nations archive of 1948in which the Convention for the Prevention and the Punishment of the Crime ofGenocide was undertaken, there delegates made a universal definition for genocide: Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or inpart, a national, ethnically, racial or religious group, as such: . killing members of the group; . causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; . deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring aboutits physical destruction in whole or in part; . imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; . forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. Now to truly understand the Genocide of 94 one must look into Rwanda spast to see what corruption caused this future. Rwanda is made up of three mainethnic groups: Hutu (Bahutu), about 90 percent of the population in the 1990 s;Tutsi (Batutsi or Watutsi), 9 percent; and Twa (Batwa), 1 percent. Its history didnot have signs of tension between the three groups until German explorers arrivedin the 1880s, and Roman Catholic clergy established missions in the area. Later inthe decade Rwanda (then called Ruanda) and Burundi (Burundi, is a landlockedrepublic in eastern Africa, bounded on the north by Rwanda, then called Urundi) were incorporated into German East Africa. The native rulers maintained goodrelations with the Germans, and later, with the Belgians, who occupied the countryduring World War I (1914-1918). After the war the area was entrusted to Belgiumby the League of Nations and became known as the Territory of Ruanda- Urundia.Following World War II (1939-1945) it became a United Nations trust territory. TheBelgians continued previous policies of supporting education by missionaries and ofruling through the Tutsi chiefs. However, they also forced the Tutsi to phase out theubuhake system, in which the Hutu became a caste of serfs subject to the Tutsi, by1958. As political awareness increased among Africans after World War II, theHutu grew more vocal in protesting the political and social inequalities in Rwanda.In 1959 the conflict between Tutsi and Hutu erupted into violence; the next year theTutsi king fled the country, and an mass departure of some 200,000 Tutsi followed.A republic was established in January 1961. In elections held the followingSeptember, the Hutu-dominated Parmehutu Party won a large majority of the seatsin the National Assembly. At the persistence of the United Nations trusteeship council, Belgium grantedRwanda independence on July 1, 1962, with Gr goire Kayibanda, leader of theParmehutu (now renamed the Democratic Republican Movement; MDR), aspresident. The MDR won the elections in 1965 and 1969. In 1963 some exiled Tutsi returned to Rwanda as a rebel army. Althoughunsuccessful, the takeover attempt prompted a large-scale massacre of Tutsi by theHutu, followed by periodic ethnic violence. At the same time thousands of Hutuvictimized in Burundi took refuge in Rwanda. In July 1973 the defense minister,General Juv nal Habyarimana, led a bloodless coup that ousted Kayibanda.Habyarimana, a Hutu from the north, charged that Kayibanda favored southernHutu and was trying to monopolize power. Both parliament and the MDR weresuspended after the coup. Political activities resumed in 1975 with the formation of anew ruling party called the National Revolutionary Movement for Development(NRMD). In 1978 a new constitution was approved, and President Habyarimanawas confirmed in office for another five years. After thwarting a coup attempt in1980, he was reelected without opposition in 1983 and again in 1988. In 1990,Belgium and several central African nations sent troops to Rwanda to oppose anuprising by the Tutsi-backed Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a movement of Tutsirefugees and moderate Hutu, invading from Uganda. As seen from a historians viewpoint one could only guess at how long untilthe groups would give into tensions and erupt into civil war. Throughout its historythe Hutu found many reasons to despise the Tutsi, and it came to no surprise whenin April of 1994 a genocide ,only paralleled by Hitler and the Holocaust, headed byHutu extremists led to the deaths of some 1,000,000 Tutsi, Twa, and HutuModerates (Hutu s who did not agree with the genocide). The killings to did notstart immediately but instead began with the destruction of PresidentHabyarimania, he had been working months prior to the genocide in a effort tomake a peace treaty. Throughout the so-called peace implementation period,President Habyarimana was under tremendous pressure from the extremists not toimplement the peace process. He did everything within his power to avoid it. Onearly April of 1994, he was called by regional presidents to various meetings. He wasflying back on April 6, 1994, from these meetings. He flew into Kigali, and as hisplane descended toward the airport, it was hit by one or two surface-to-air missiles,bursts into flames, and crashes into his own backyard of his palace. Now, immediately the Hutu power extremist radio, starts blaming the rebels(the Rwandese Patriotic Front) for this. There has since been endless speculationabout who did what. What’s most clear is that the circumstantial evidence points tothe fact that it was actually the extremists in the president’s own entourage, whohad often predicted that if he didn’t comply with them and complied instead withthe peace deal, he would be meeting his maker. They staged a coup within half anhour. Essentially, the government now became a government of absolute Hutuextremists. It became a military coup, which instated a new sort of puppetgovernment. And within the course of that night (the night of April 6th), theprogram of massacres that had been planned began to get implemented, first killingpolitical oppositionists rather than singling out Tutsis by ethnicity. It was reallyfocusing on those people who might cause the most political trouble. And membersof the presidential guard were recruited and sent forth with lists as assassins.Massacres began to take place. It was the rhetoric of “Our beloved president waskilled by them,” when in fact everything indicates that they either killed him orcertainly exploited his death within moments. Following these messages of blame the Hutu extremists then took theopportunity to rid there country of Tutsi by gaining power over the national radio
station and this became the genocidal radio. It was a radio dedicated entirely toentertainment and genocidal propaganda. Following the president’s death, itbecame almost Genocide Central. It was through there that people were instructedat times, “Go out there and kill. You must do your work. People are needed over inthis commune.” Sometimes they actually had disc jockeys who would say,”So-and-so has just fled. He is said to be moving down such-and-such street.” Theywould literally hunt an individual who was targeted in the street. It was a rallyingtool that was used in a tremendous way to mobilize the population. This tool hasbeen accredited with allowing the Hutu s to work in such a swift manner. In amatter of a hundred days an average 8000-10000 Tutsi were killed by mobs of Hutugoing house to house in search of Tutsi. This genocide was one of the most efficient mass murders since Hitler causedthe Holocaust in the 40 s and comes to a certain degree of surprise when theinternational community learned that days prior to the genocide a fax sent had beento the UN peacekeeping Council depicting in several paragraphs what would was tocome in the following months.On January 11, 1994 Major General Dallaire sent an urgent fax to the Departmentof Peacekeeping Operations at UN headquarters in New York. The fax, headed”Request for Protection for Informant,” explained that Dallaire had developed aremarkable intelligence source from within the highest echelons of the interahamweand that he needed help in guaranteeing the man’s security. The informant, Dallairewrote, was a former member of the President’s security staff, who was getting paidnearly a thousand dollars a month by the army chief of staff and president of theruling Hutu party to serve as a “top level” interahamwe trainer. A few days earlier,Dallaire’s informant had been in charge of coordinating forty-eight plainclothescommandos, and several government officials in a plot to kill opposition leaders andBelgian soldiers during a ceremony at the parliament. “They hoped to provoke theRPF… and provoke a civil war,” the fax said. “Deputies were to be assassinatedupon entry or exit from parliament. Belgian troops”–the mainstay of the UNAMIRforce–”were to be provoked and if Belgian soldiers resorted to force a number ofthem were to be killed and thus guarantee Belgian withdrawal from Rwanda.” Thatplan had been aborted–for the moment–but Dallaire’s informant told him thatmore than forty interahamwe cells of forty men each were “scattered” aroundKigali, after being trained by the Rwandan army in “discipline, weapons,explosives, close combat, and tactics.” The fax continued: Since UNAMIR mandate [the informant] has been ordered to register allTutsi in Kigali. He suspects it is for their extermination. Example he gave isthat in twenty minutes his personnel could kill up to a thousand Tutsis. Informant states he disagrees with anti-Tutsi extermination. He supportsopposition to RPF but cannot support killing of innocent persons. He alsostated that he believes the President does not have full control over allelements of his old Party/Faction. Informant is prepared to provide location of major weapons cache with atleast a hundred thirty-five weapons. . . . He was ready to go to the arms cachetonight–if we gave him the following guarantee. He requests that he and hisfamily (his wife and four children) be placed under our protection. Dallaire then continued by writing a letter to the chief of UN peacekeepingDallaire labeled his fax “most immediate,” and signed off in French: “Peux ce queveux. Allons’y” (”Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Let’s go”). The response fromNew York was: Let’s not. The chief of UN peacekeeping at the time was Kofi Annan,the Ghanaian who would become Secretary-General. Annan’s deputy, Iqbal Riza,replied to Dallaire the same day, rejecting the “operation contemplated” in hisfax–and the extension of protection to the informant–as “beyond the mandateentrusted to UNAMIR.” Instead, Dallaire was instructed to share his informationwith President Habyarimana, and tell him that the activities of the interahamwe”represent a clear threat to the peace process” and a “clear violation” of the “Kigaliweapons-secure area.” Never mind that Dallaire’s informant had explicitlydescribed the plans to exterminate Tutsis and assassinate Belgians as emanatingfrom Habyarimana’s court: the mandate said that peace-treaty violations should bereported to the President, and New York advised Dallaire, “You should assume thathe”–Habyarimana–”is not aware of these activities, but insist that he mustimmediately look into the situation. The disregard for the contents of the initial fax cost the people of Rwanda some hundreds of thousands of people, had the cache ofarms been found the rate at which the Tutsi were killed would have been greatlydecreased. The International communities lack of involvemnt in trying to stop thegenocide is somewhat hard to grasp but what comes to being even more startlingwas the United States involvement or lack there of in preventing the genocide. TheClinton administration–and one should always remember that in the UnitedNations Security Council, the United States is essentially the 800-pound gorilla thatsits where it wants and can bend others to its will. It’s the great power, the Clintonadministration’s policy was, “Let’s withdraw altogether. Let’s get out of Rwanda.Leave it to its fate.” The United States ambassador to the United Nations at thattime was then Madeline Albright. And it was she who was in the wretched positionof having to represent this position to the Security Council, and who did so veryeffectively. Althought the issues disscussed in this essay where known in the intenationalcommunity as well as he US it was not completely known until the publication of Philip Gourviths bestseller, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will beKilled With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda . It has a an unforgettablefirsthand account of a people’s response to genocide and what it tells us abouthumanity, this remarkable book chronicles what has happened in Rwanda andneighboring states since 1994. I read this book and found the it both too powerful to read- too powerful notto. The horrible stories of Rwanda put many things in perspective for me.. and havemade me ask many questions of my family, my friends, my government, my world,and myself. How can I trust a government that would sink so low? A governmentthat would, according to this book and interviews of government officials, turn itsback on the fate of millions.. making sure to never acknowledge a “genocide” wasoccuring, which would force the US to intervene due to the Genocide Convention of1948. What can I do? What can anyone do? For all the people, all the organizations(like the Red Cross and Amnesty International), and all the journalists that werethere.. that knew what was going on.. what could they do? They reported it. Theyhoped someone would stop it, they hoped the world would act and show that it wasup to the challenge. And when the international community got its chance to proveitself just and strong.. it failed. Interviews with US government officials shocked me,pushing Gourevitch’s message farther into my conscience. Several people within theWhite House administration, the Pentagon, and the State Department felt what wasgoing on was wrong.