Ben Diamond

In: Social Issues

Submitted By dkrosanwo
Words 1862
Pages 8
In the years following the violence that shook Rwanda and the world in 1994, there have been many attempts to explain, or at least understand, the nature of the human tragedy known as the Rwandan genocide. Most accounts describe how two rival ethnic groups, the Hutu and the Tutsi, were engaged in a bitter dispute culminating in 1994. During a period of less than three months, widespread torture and brutality resulted in 500,000 to 800,000 (mainly Tutsi) deaths.[1] After over three years of civil war following an invasion of mainly Tutsi refugees from neighbouring Burundi, a series of negotiations resulted in the adoption of the Arusha accord, which called for the eventual sharing of power between the invaders (known as the Rwandan Patriotic Front or RPF) and the former regime of Hutu President Juvénal Habyarimana, and his party, the Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND). The widespread killings, mainly committed by the interahamwe, a group of Hutu extremist militias, began after the plane carrying President Habyarimana was shot down on the night of April 6, 1994. In the months that followed, the international community essentially turned a blind eye to the bloody massacre that was to unfold in the Rwandan anarchy. It seems no overstatement to portray the Rwandan genocide of 1994 as a “failure of humanity,” to use the words of the commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), Canadian General Roméo Dallaire.[2] There is a distinct danger, however, of oversimplifying Rwanda as a case of ethno-tribal conflict in remote Africa. Though it may be easier to accept as somehow being “unavoidable” if left in ethnic terms – as if to somehow vindicate the global failure to stop it from occurring – the international community has a responsibility to do its best to learn from the Rwandan case by understanding the various factors that led to…...

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