Seeds: There were, and still are, three dominant ethnic groups in Rwanda: the Tutsi, Hutu, and Twa peoples. Historically, there was significant strife between the groups caused by land disputes, which resulted in Belgian involvement in the area until after the World War II. Even after the country gained independence, the struggles continued as each group tried to gain full control over the nation. In 1990, the majority of the Twa were beggars and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (comprised mostly of Tutsi refugees who despised the Hutu controlled government because they massacred hundreds of Tutsi) invaded northern Rwanda from Uganda, starting the Rwandan Civil War.
Core: When the Presidents of Rwanda (a Hutu himself) and of Burundi were killed in a plane by a rocket attack in 1994, the immediate belief was that the attack was caused by Tutsi extremists (though to this day no one is sure). That night the Rwandan genocide began. As many as 1 million Tutsi and moderate Hutus were estimated to be killed in 100 days by Hutu military members. Radio stations broadcasts anti-Tutsi rhetoric, leading hundreds of thousands being hacked to death by machetes. Eventually, the RPF drove the Hutus out, but by then an estimated 75 % of the Tutsi population in Rwanda had been killed. Once the RPF gained control, more than 2 million Hutus fled the country.
Skin: Bill Clinton has stated that one of the biggest regrets of his presidency was not doing anything to stop the genocide, which has been labeled the largest ethnic-based genocide since World War II. Many argue that the United States has repeatedly avoided intervening in countries that don’t have oil interests, share their ideology, or want to embrace their ideology.
Leaves: Twenty-two years after the genocide, the country has made impressive strides in fixing its economy, but the legacy of the genocide still remains. Whole generations have been lost, and it has prompted international discussion on how to more properly deal with such atrocities occurring in sovereign nations.
Food For Thought: Do you think the United States made the right decision in Rwanda? Do you think that the crimes ISIS has committed throughout the Middle East in the past four years constitutes as genocide?
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