Crisis in Rwanda Brief Background Essay
Crisis in Rwanda Brief Background
The pre-colonial Rwanda was characterized by a fluid of ethnic divisions between the majority of the population (Hutus, comprising of about 85% of the population in 1999) and the minority of the population (Tutsis, comprising of about 8-14% as per the time of the genocide in 1994), and could not reportedly be considered as separate tribes. Inter-communal conflict did not exist. These existed even though Tutsis were dominant in the small Rwandan aristocracy.
According to Wrage (2000), mass murder similar to the one in 1994 was unheard of and there were no common ethnic lines before 1960. The records of Belgium indicate that Rwandans had a sense of belonging to their nation. The Belgians, who took over the country during the World War I from Germans who had colonized the country from 1894-1916, ruled the country until their independence in 1962. The Belgians granted preferential status to the Tutsis and this was the root cause of the massive killing which led to a loss of about 800,000 people (Jones, 2000).
According to Prunier, the Belgians highlighted the differences that existed among the two tribes and Tutsis (who had an appearance more like the Europeans’ compared to the Hutus) were considered the master race and were granted preference in the Belgium’s Rwandan auxiliaries by 1930. This earned them hatred from the Hutus. The identity cards introduced by the Belgians in 1933 designating people as Hutu, Twa or Tutsi played a role in the genocide because it helped genocide architects distinguish their Tutsi victims.
The more educated and prosperous Tutsis led struggle for independence after the World War II and the Belgians switched to allege to the Hutus. In between 1959 and 1962, revenging Hutus murdered about 15,000 Tutsis and made more than 100,000 to flee to the neighboring countries. The assassination of the President Habyarimana on 6 April 1994 seemed to have been because of his acceptance to accommodate the Tutsis’ Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) in the Rwandan government by signing a peace treaty, which was not welcome by some Hutus including those powerful in the government.
RPF was formed by Tutsis in Uganda and had plans to invade Rwanda and overthrow the president. The opposing Hutus seemed to give a solution to the problem, instead of welcoming them. Tutsis were killed massively, and some Hutus who were assumed to be Tutsis. The daily death rate is said to have been at least five times that of the Nazi death camps and the most concentrated incident of genocide in human history, together with that of the Soviet prisoners-of-war (Prunier, 1995; Gourevitch, 1998). Implications of the genocide: Current issues that are affecting Rwanda to date that need more attention
The Rwandan government released figures of a first major census in February 2002, aimed at an effort to establish the number of those who lost their lives during the genocide. The findings asserted that about a seventh of the population-1 million, and seventy four thousand people-lost their lives. Among these, 94% comprised of Tutsis. Men were the major target in this genocide. The number of men can only be estimated and there are suggestions that they were 75-80% (Jones, 2000). The Rwandan work force was affected whose effects on economy may be felt to date.
According to Prunier, the Rwandan economy stills remains badly hurt and no signs of quick recovery. Many teachers died in the genocide and this has led to suffering of the education sector. Hutu and Tutsi extremists link solution to annihilation of the other, and this could lead to another wave of killings. Issue 1: Loss of human labor necessary for growth of the Rwandan economy, due to the massive killing in the 1994 Genocide killings • An estimated number of males killed consisted of 75-80% of those who died in the genocide.
There are reports that indicate low percentage of adult male, such as the 20% of adult men consisting of 20% of the whole population in Gitamara district in Central Rwanda (Gough, 2000). This was because of the gendercidal killings which have led to demographic imbalance which may continue for longer (El-Bushra; cited in Jones, 2000). It is obvious that the killings resulted to loss of human labor in all sectors of the Rwandan economy. Low food productivity in highly attacked areas has been linked to physical inability of women.
Issue 2: The number of the HIV and Aids victims in the present Rwanda is partly because of the genocide killings • Women were forced into sexual relationships with the killers with the threats that they would be killed if they refused (Jones, 2000). This resulted into transmission of the killer disease. Rapes, forced “marriages” and mutilation of the vagina and pelvic areas with weapons was also experienced by women (‘Shattered Lives: Sexual violence During the Rwandan Genocide and its Aftermath’, 1996).
According to McGreal (2001), orphans whose fathers were killed by machetes and mothers by HIV would be in tens of thousands. In 2001, two thirds of the tested 1200, of the 25000 Tutsi women belonging to the Widows of Genocide organization (Avega) were HIV-positive (McGreal, 2001). Issue 3: The current indication of lack of trust, and suspicion may indicate that there is potential for another massive killing like that experienced in the 1994
• According to Jones, many Hutus feel proclaimed guilty by association, many Tutsis’ convictions that repressing Hutus will assure them of their survival, and the belief by extremists on both side that annihilating one another is the only solution. The situation may spark another wave of killings. Recommendation Regarding Crisis in Rwanda The following are recommendations that may alleviate the current situation in Rwanda, regarding the economy, security stability and sexual violence and HIV and AIDS illnesses. • Recommendation for the sexual violation 1.
The families of those whose rights were sexually violated continue to suffer to date. The government should strengthen its support for the children of the families where rape cases were witnessed resulting in the contrasting of the HIV and Aids. The government should put in place a national program to search for the victims regardless of their tribe and support their children by funding for their education to completion. 2. The government should encourage and fund support programs by the local authorities for the women who were mutilated on their genitals and who experienced gang rape.
The support program must include compensation to the victims which will help them establish business and other self-help ventures. The people who were the sources to root causes of the genocide event like Belgians, and who participated in one way or the other must come in and support the country in compensating for the victim. • Recommendation for the shortage of labor 1. The government should continue to invest on current-technological labor force while the population balance is set to increase in the near future.
The government should identify areas that were massively affected and launch special programs to ensure production of food and other labor shortages are catered for. 2. The government should look for outsourced labor from the neighboring countries to take care of the human power shortages like lack of enough teachers and other personnel in other fields. Besides, the government should focus more resources on funding the education system to raise more professions. This is by funding education for the poor and the economically disadvantaged that form the majority of the population.
3. The government should ensure that the public and the private sectors have arrangements to work through out for 24 hours to increase man hours for production and rendering of quicker services. The government should also look for the possibilities of removing all the barriers affecting or delaying production processes and investments in any way. • Recommendation on potential for another genocide event 1. The government should have institutions that are all-inclusive in all sectors for different social groupings.
The government must always venture into constructive consultative means of making its major decisions in order to avoid conflicts on political issues and defiance by the masses which may be linked to certain interest groups like the tribe groupings. Besides, criminals must be deals with as provides the law without any discrimination, favor or fear. Those who were involved in the genocide and are yet to be prosecuted must be made to carry their own cross without any consideration to their political inclinations and background.
This is by ensuring that the country has an all-inclusive, proper constitution and judicial system. Bibliography Chris McGreal. “A Pearl in Rwanda’s genocide horror”. The Guardian. UK, December 5, 2001. Retrieved 15 November 2008 from http://www. gurdian. co. uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4313577,00. html Gough. “Husband-hiring hastens the spread of Aids in Rwanda”. The Guardian. February 8, 2000. UK Gourevitch Philip. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998, p. 3 Jones Adam.
“Case Study: Genocide in Rwanda, 1994. ” 2000. Retrieved 15 November 2008 from http://www. gendercide. org/case_rwanda. html Prunier G. “Rwanda’s Struggle to Recover from Genocide,” Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99 Prunier G. The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide. Columbia University Press, 1995. p. 261 Shattered Lives: Sexual Violence During the Rwandan Genocide and its Aftermath. Human Rights Watch, 1996. Retrieved 15 November 2008 from http://www. hrw. org/summaries/s. rwanda969. html Wrage. (2000). “Genocide in Rwanda: Draft Case Study for Teaching Ethics and International Affairs. “