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History of Rwanda Tutsi and Hutu, Research Paper Example

Pages: 2

Words: 623

Research Paper

Rwanda is African smallest country but its population is the largest, being estimated at seven million people. The country has encountered difficult times marked with famine and massive genocide that drastically reduced the population of the country. The history of Rwanda has been interesting due to the existing two opposing ethnic groups of majority Hutus, 85 % and minority Tutsis, 15 %. The Tutsis had a higher prominence with regard to royalty as well as hierarchy although majority of them were peasants. The Hutus engaged in farming while the Tutsis reared cattle (Stephen, 58-124).

The Hutus and the Tutsis at one time co-existed harmoniously in the Central African region. The Tutsis who are a characteristic warrior and tall people migrated from Ethiopia and consequently invaded the Hutus homeland. The Tutsi were able to surmount the Hutus despite the fact that they were a smaller group of people and thereafter the Hutus were made to cultivate for the Tutsis to get protection in return.

The area was ruled by the Belgium during the colonial era having taken the colony from Germany. The Hutus and the Tutsi lived in harmony and obeyed the Tutsi king who was considered to be godly. They also intermarried amongst themselves and shared the same dialect. In general terms, the strive between the Hutus and the Tutsis arose from class warfare. The Tutsis were believed to enjoy greater wealth in addition to a higher social status as compared to the Tutsis. The ranching of cattle done by the Tutsis was also considered as superior as compared to lower class farming which was the economic activity of the Hutus (Nyankanzi, 135-167).

However, after independence, things drastically changed, the starting point being the dissolution of the monarchy and withdrawal of the Belgium troops. A power vacuum developed and the two communities had to engage in war aiming at filling the vacuum. This led to the emergence of two countries in 1962 namely Rwanda and Burundi which were dominated by the Hutus and the Tutsis respectively. The decades that followed were marked by flaring of fighting between the two groups. Massacres broke out periodically in Burundi and Rwanda which was an indication of the racial as well as social distinctions and also resentment that existed between the two groups.

During the period 1994, the civil war intensified in Rwanda that culminated to the killing of huge numbers of the Hutus and also a substantial number of the Tutsis. The rebels from the Tutsis gained victory and this resulted to mass migration of millions of Hutus to Zaire and Tanzania who feared revenge attacks. Racial oppression system was used in a similar manner as at the time of colonization. The Hutus maintained their identity classification so that they could use it against the Tutsis in reciprocity.

The Hutus emerged politically victorious during the first democratic election that was held in 1963 forcing the Tutsis to yield power. The Hutus were denied basic rights such as government positions, ownership of land and higher education although the comprised the greater percentage, 85, of the population in Rwanda (Prunier, 215-167).

The Catholic Church acknowledged that genocide occurred but according to their argument, the church did not permit and support the genocide. The genocide was motivated by ethnic tensions but the Human rights faulted religious authorities including the Protestants, the Anglicans and the Catholics for their failure to condemn the genocides. Some of the religious hierarchy have been put on spot and tried against the genocide and convicted.

Works cited

Nyankanzi, Edward L. Genocide: Rwanda and Burundi. Rochester, Vt.: Schenkman Books, 1997.

Stephen Kinzer. A Thousand Hills: Rwanda’s Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It, London: Wiley Books, 2008.

Prunier, Gérard The Rwanda Crisis, 1959–1994: History of a Genocide . London: C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 1995.

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