Rwanda: A Brief History of the Country
Rwanda’s population of more than 7 million people is divided into three ethnic groups: the Hutu (who made up roughly 85% of the population), the Tutsi (14%) and the Twa (1%).
Prior to the colonial era, Tutsis generally occupied the higher strata in the social system and the Hutus the lower. However, social mobility was possible, a Hutu who acquired a large number of cattle or other wealth could be assimilated into the Tutsi group and impoverished Tutsi would be regarded as Hutu. A clan system also functioned, with the Tutsi clan known as the Nyinginya being the most powerful. Throughout the 1800s, the Nyingiya expanded their influence by conquest and by offering protection in return for tribute.
Ethnic Conflict Begins
The former colonial power, Germany, lost possession of Rwanda during the First World War and the territory was then placed under Belgian administration. In the late 1950’s during the great wave of decolonization, tensions increased in Rwanda. The Hutu political movement, which stood to gain from majority rule, was gaining momentum while segments of the Tutsi establishment resisted democratization and the loss of their acquired privileges. In November 1959, a violent incident sparked a Hutu uprising in which hundreds of Tutsi were killed and thousands displaced and forced to flee to neighboring countries. This marked the start of the so- called ‘Hutu Peasant Revolution’ or ‘social revolution’ lasting from 1959 to 1961, which signified the end of Tutsi domination and the sharpening of ethnic tensions. By 1962, when Rwanda gained independence, 120,000 people, primarily Tutsis, had taken refuge in neighboring states to escape the violence which had accompanied the gradual coming into power of the Hutu community...
The Genocide - 6th April - 4th July 1994
On 6 April 1994, the deaths of the Presidents of Burundi and Rwanda in a plane crash caused by a rocket attack, ignited several weeks of intense and systematic massacres. The killings - as many as 1 million people are estimated to have perished - shocked the international community and were clearly acts of genocide. An estimated 150,000 to 250,000 women were also raped. Members of the presidential guard started killing Tutsi civilians in a section of Kigali near the airport. Less than half an hour after the plane crash, roadblocks manned by Hutu militiamen often assisted by gendarmerie (paramilitary police) or military personnel were set up to identify Tutsis. [more]
Rwanda genocide [stats]
Even an 'American dog' was saved.. and Laura Lane is extremely patronizing. Madeleine Albright..
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