“I between 1959-1961 that lead to Belgium renouncing

“I know there is a God because in Rwanda
I shook hands with the Devil. I have seen him, I have smelt him and I have
touched him. I know the devil exits, and therefore, I know there is a God”
(Romeo Dallaire, 2003). The genocide in Rwanda, also known as the 100 days of
massacre, was a horrific mass murder event in history. Genocide can be defined
as “the deliberate killing of a large group of
people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation”
(dictonairy.com, 2017). The genocide in Rwanda was predictable, yet little efforts
were taken to prevent it, proven through the ten steps of genocide, the little
help received from the United Nations and the comparison to the Holocaust.

There are numerous events leading up to the Rwandan genocide
in 1994. In 1925 Belgium took rule over Rwanda and created tension between
the ethnic two groups, the Tutis and the Hutus (historyworld.net, n.d). Belgium
put the Tutsis in charge because of their more physical resemblance to
Europeans. Tuti’s were lighter in color and taller, where as Hutus were darker
in color and shorter (youtube, 2016). The Belgians favored the Tutsis and gave
them better jobs, education and health care (youtube, 2015). Because of European bias, the Hutu’s became very
resentful. There was lots of violence that took place in Rwanda between
1959-1961 that lead to Belgium renouncing power over Rwanda in 1962 (ppu.org.uk,
n.d). Although there were many attempts by the political heads of the country
and foreign aid to create peace, the Hutu’s still had a lot of hatred for the
Tutsi’s and blamed them for all problems. In 1994 a plane was shot down,
carrying the Rwandan president. It is not known which side shot down the plane
but this act was the beginning of the 100 days of massacre (history.com, n.d). Hutu
extremist groups immediately took action. They began killing all people of
Tutsi culture and of moderate Hutu culture. They instantly set up roadblocks,
checked identification cards and killed in cruel ways (www.pbs.org,
1999-2014).

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“The signs on the road to genocide are clear &
loom large; one can see them but one can also choose to ignore them”
(Dileo, 4). Within the reading by Leo
Dileo, An Account from Hell: Romeo
Dalliere and the Rwandan Genocide, Dileo goes over the stages of genocide,
describing how the preparation for genocide begins. Beginning with
classification, the dominant group develops an “us versus them” mentality (genocidewatch.net, 2014). The Hutu’s and Tutsi’s
were separated culturally and treated differently during the Belgium rule.

Because of this long period of separation, the gaps between the groups carried
on even after Belgium renounced power (historyworld.net,
n.d). Symbolization
is the next step in recognizing genocide. During symbolization racial slurs and
symbols are used to segregate individuals and form dominance in society (genocidewatch.net, 2014).  Every individual in Rwanda was forced to
carry an identification card, symbolizing his or her cultural status (Wikepedia, 2017). Dehumanization follows symbolization as
individuals of a certain group are looked at as “pests” in order to justify
their elimination (genocidewatch.net, 2014). The Hutu’s turned to radio stations, broadcasting all sorts
of cruel statements about the Tutsis: “Radio was also used to dehumanize Tutsis
by calling them ‘cockroaches’, making acts of violence against them seem less
inhumane” (endgenocide.org, 2016). Next, organization needs to
occur involving large groups of people. This was easy for the Hutu’s because they
were 80% of Rwanda’s population. Polarization takes place, where extremists
drive the two sides apart, often through hurtful propaganda (genocidewatch.net, 2014). Hutu’s used the power of
the radio to spread hateful messages and stereotypes about the Tutsi’s: “Radio
stories were used to anger the Hutus and channel that anger into action”
(endgenocide.org, 2016). Preparation and persecution take
place when the victim group’s basic human rights
become systematically abused through unwarranted killings and displacement (genocidewatch.net,
2014). The Hutu’s began to live in fear, as death lists were written up and
families were separated: ” It is estimated that nearly 100,000 children
were orphaned, abducted or abandoned” (endgenocide.org, 2016). Extermination, defined as
mass killings (genocidewatch.net, 2014), is the consequence of the
previous eight steps. Immediately after Rwanda’s president, Juvénal Habyarimana, was assassinated,
the Hutu’s began their extermination of the Tutsi’s (un.org, n.d). The last
stage of genocide is Denial, which
encompasses mass graves created and evidence is covered up (genocidewatch.net,
2014): “Government officals, soldieris and militia who had participated in the
genocide feld to the Democratic Republic of Congo” (un.org, n.d)

            The
United Nations was established after The Second World War in order to form
international peace and security (http://www.un.org, 2017). Despite
being an established operation, The United Nations ultimately failed in its
duties when it came to the Rwandan genocide: “UN
and its member states failed Rwanda in deplorable ways in 1994, ignoring
evidence that a genocide was planned, refusing to act once it was under way and
finally abandoning the Rwandan people when they most needed protection”
(globalpolicy.org, 1999). Romeo Dalliere, a peacekeeper assigned to Rwanda
before the genocide, sent a warning fax to the United Nations head quarters
months before the genocide. This fax stated words such as extermination, kill,
not having full control and killing
(Dileo, 9). “He Dalliere said the plan foresaw Tutsis being killed at the
rate of 1,000 every 20 minutes. General Dallaire requested permission to take
immediate action to intervene and seek out a cache of weapons. The general’s
proposals were dismissed by Mr Boutros Ghali’s chief adviser”
(independent.co.uk, 1999). Despite this being
the clearest warning of all, The United Nations ignored a cry for help, and
went against what they stand for. The United Nations failed to deploy an
accurate amount of peacekeepers to prevent this genocide from occurring and
took no action once the genocide began (globalpolicy.org, 2005-2017). All
countries deserve equal protection and security, and this was not demonstrated
during the Rwandan genocide, leaving the country in shambles.

            The
Holocaust is the most recognized genocide in History. This six-year long
genocide took the lives of over 5 million Jewish people and millions of others
(telegraph.co.uk, 2017). This genocide can often be compared to that in Rwanda,
around 50 years later. To compare, both genocides featured dominating parties using
segregated individuals as scapegoats for all of the issues within their
society. The Jewish were seen as inferior during Hitler’s regime and so, any
issue within society was blamed on the Jews in order to remove the fault of the
dominant race. The Tutsi’s were blamed for all of the discrepancies between the
two cultures during Belgium’s regime because they were favored by Belgium. This
time period caused such a divide between the Hutu’s and the Tutsi’s, that
neither side was able to forgive. Another similarity between the two genocides
was the use of propaganda. Both dominant sides used media; during WWII it was
mostly posters and advertisements, while the Rwandan genocide used radio. Both
parties spread hateful rumors and used racial slurs against their scapegoats in
order to force individuals within society into believing that genocide was warranted.

            One
of the biggest questions related to the topic of genocide is why they continue
to occur. Ignorance of genocidal signs is a significant cause. Dileo clearly
lays out the 10 steps of genocide, allowing us to recognize genocide in the
process. Another reason is lack of advocacy. Many individuals are within the
midst of a crisis, but are scared to stand up because of the consequences. Or
they may not even have the resources or the connections to reveal such a large
controversial issue. Additionally, many people are ignorant to the facts of
genocide. Living in such a developed part of the world, individuals are not
exposed to the harsh reality that others live through everyday.

What I would do differently about this situation is
become an advocate. I believe the most change would come from spreading
awareness. First, people need to understand what genocide is and the steps
leading up to it in order to create prevention strategies. Genocides take time
to organize, resulting in sufficient time to prevent it. “At
least 800,000 people – mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus – died at the
hands of Hutu extremists” (bbc.com/news, 2014). Because of the little efforts
of outside power, 800,000 lives were unnecessarily taken. We, as a civilized
nation, need to recognize the steps of these traumatic events and aid others
around the world: : We can make a difference. We can save lives. We can stop
the genocide” (Kendrick Meek, 2001-2017).

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