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Response to JackRiddler (Original post)

Wed Aug 28, 2013, 03:14 AM

6. Rwanda was a Belgian colony, not French

From the start of the first World War in the early 1900's Belgium left the governing of Rwanda (then Ruanda-Urundi) to the aristocratic Tutsis, and in 1962 Ruanda-Urundi became independent. However, long before the first European entered Rwanda in the late 1800's there was already a Hutu/Tutsi divide though animosity between the two didn't develop until much later but also long before the 1994 genocide which was not the first.

For a history of Rwanda going back to the late 1800's and including the 1994 genocide (which was not the first but certainly the worst) and its aftermath read here:

"Habyarimana remains in power for twenty-one years, running a conventional self-serving military dictatorship (with enthusiastic support from several western countries, in particular France). But his Hutu ethnic policy creates an increasing problem on Rwanda's frontiers. Over the borders there are a vast number of mainly Tutsi refugees. As time passes they are increasingly unwelcome in their host countries. Efforts are made to send them home. But Rwanda rejects them.

In 1986 Habyarimana states as a matter of policy that there will be no right of return for Rwandan refugees. In the following year Rwandan exiles form the group which soon transforms the situation - the RPF or Rwandan Patriotic Front, committed to armed struggle against Habyarimana's regime.

The nucleus of the RPF is Tutsi officers serving in the Ugandan army. On a prearranged date, 1 October 1990, they desert from the army with their equipment and move south over the border into Rwanda. It is a minor invasion which eventually, against all the odds, puts an end to Habyarimana's regime. But it also provokes one of the century's most appalling acts of genocide.

The prelude to genocide: 1990-1994

President Habyarimina is able to repel the initial RPF invasion of northeastern Rwanda, in October 1990, largely thanks to French paratroops sent for the purpose by President Mitterand. But the event provides the pretext for a new wave of Tutsi persecution within Rwanda."

More interesting info here on the international involvement (or really the non-involvement) in the 1994 genocide with a lot of documentation:


"As the killing intensified, the international community deserted Rwanda. Western nations landed troops in Rwanda or Burundi in the first week to evacuate their citizens, did so, and left. The UN mission (UNAMIR), created in October 1993 to keep the peace and assist the governmental transition in Rwanda, sought to intervene between the killers and civilians. It also tried to mediate between the RPF and the Rwandan army after the RPF struck from Rwanda to protect Tutsi and rescue their battalion encamped in Kigali as part of the Accord. On April 21, 1994, the United Nations Security Council, at the behest of the United States—which had no troops in Rwanda—Belgium, and others, voted to withdraw all but a remnant of UNAMIR. The Security Council took this vote and others concerning Rwanda even as the representative of the genocidal regime sat amongst them as a non-permanent member. After human rights, media, and diplomatic reports of the carnage mounted, the UN met and debated and finally arrived at a compromise response on May 16. UNAMIR II, as it was to be known, would be a more robust force of 5,500 troops. Again, however, the world failed to deliver, as the full complement of troops and materiel would not arrive in Rwanda until months after the genocide ended. Faced with the UN’s delay, *but also concerned about its image as a former patron and arms supplier of the Habyarimana regime, France announced on June 15 that it would intervene to stop the killing. In a June 22 vote, the UN Security Council gave its blessing to this intervention; that same day, French troops entered Rwanda from Zaire. While intending a wider intervention, confronted with the RPF’s rapid advance across Rwanda, the French set up a “humanitarian zone” in the southwest corner of Rwanda. Their intervention succeeded in saving tens of thousands of Tutsi lives; it also facilitated the safe exit of many of the genocide’s plotters, who were allies of the French.

On July 4, the RPF took the capital, Kigali; two weeks later, it announced a new government comprised of RPF leaders and ministers previously selected for the transition government called for in the Arusha Accord. With the RPF’s takeover, and with the encouragement of extremist radio, Rwandans implicated in the slaughter, their relatives and those who feared the arrival of the RPF, fled to neighboring countries. In the end, the extremists killed nearly one million Rwandans, approximately one-tenth of the population. Were it not for the RPF’s military prowess, the genocide would have continued.

Despite overwhelming evidence of genocide and knowledge as to its perpetrators, United States officials decided against taking a leading role in confronting the slaughter in Rwanda. Rather, US officials confined themselves to public statements, diplomatic demarches, initiatives for a ceasefire, and attempts to contact both the interim government perpetrating the killing and the RPF. The US did use its influence, however, at the United Nations, but did so to discourage a robust UN response (Document 4 and Document 13). In late July, however, with the evidence of genocide littering the ground in Rwanda, the US did launch substantial operations—again, in a supporting role—to assist humanitarian relief efforts for those displaced by the genocide."

* - French troops left weeks later in mid-July.

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JackRiddler Aug 2013 OP
Democracyinkind Aug 2013 #1
JackRiddler Aug 2013 #2
Pretzel_Warrior Aug 2013 #3
JackRiddler Aug 2013 #4
PETRUS Aug 2013 #5
LineReply Rwanda was a Belgian colony, not French
TorchTheWitch Aug 2013 #6
JackRiddler Aug 2013 #7
JackRiddler Aug 2013 #8
JackRiddler Aug 2013 #9
Alamuti Lotus Aug 2013 #10
JackRiddler Aug 2013 #13
Alamuti Lotus Aug 2013 #14
JackRiddler Aug 2013 #16
xchrom Aug 2013 #11
LWolf Aug 2013 #12
leftstreet Aug 2013 #15
JackRiddler Aug 2013 #17
Bluenorthwest Aug 2013 #18
JackRiddler Sep 2013 #19
Blue_Tires Sep 2013 #20
Cal3bg Jan 2014 #21
JackRiddler Jan 2014 #22
JackRiddler Feb 2014 #23
JackRiddler Apr 2014 #24
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