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Historical Roots of the Conflict Leading to Genocide in Rwanda - Essay Example

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Genocide in Rwanda
According to an estimate 5-10 per cent of Rwanda’s population was exterminated between second week of April and third week of May 1994, it proved to be the highest casualty rate of human population caused by non-natural factors (Prunier 261-265). …
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Historical Roots of the Conflict Leading to Genocide in Rwanda
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Download file to see previous pages There is a consensus about the multiplicity of the factors involved in the conflicts in Africa. Rwanda’s 1994 genocide case is not exception (Villier qtd. in Gaparayi 4).There are several views when it comes to defining the causes of conflict, major focus of this paper is to identify and analyze the historical roots of the conflicts that led to genocide in Rwanda in 1994.
Brief Overview of Factors
In order to identify the cause of conflicts that led to genocide in Rwanda, some argue that its root cause is embedded in pre-colonial political and social structures of Rwanda (Kangura 1995; J-J. Maquet 1961) while others argue that it initiated by the imposition of colonial powers which was a system of ethnic identity and political/administrative structures that led to division in Rwandan society (qtd. in Gaparayi 3).Moreover, colonial imposition was conserved by two Hutu regimes since independence which finally led to the conflicts and 1994’s genocide (Fundi qtd. in Gaparayi 3).
Ethnic and Social Identities and Roots
Rwandan people are composed of two major groups, Hutu and Tutsi. Hutu are in majority comprising nearly 85 per cent of the population, Tutsi are 15 per cent while a third minority group Twa or pygmies comprise 1 per cent of total population. Hutu are considered to be settlers from south and west while the Tutsi people came to Rwanda after Hutu people from the north and east. These two groups organized themselves in semi-autonomous communities and established links through trade, marriage, and other social engagements. According to estimates, nearly half of Rwandans today have both Tutsi and Hutu ancestors. Therefore, a group of scholars believe that the difference among them were social and economical rather than their ethnic identity (IJR 7).Despite similarities and shared culture, there are several factors that separated Tutsi and Hutu throughout history and kept the tension building. Tutsi Oppression Irrespective of their origins, these groups lived on same hills and shared similar social and political culture where identities are divided more into clans rather than ethnicity. It continued until the second of half of nineteenth century. Tutsi King Rwabugiri (1860-95) intervened into the Hutu and Tutsi’s autonomous relationship by introducing a form of feudal labor. According to this setting, Hutu access to land was allowed in return for labor. On the other hand, it exalted Tutsi status to cattle farmers. However, historical evidence suggests that these differing lines between Hutu and Tutsi continually blurred. It is because laborers acquired upward social mobility and status of Tutsi by getting cattle though marriages, barter, and trade. At the same time, some Tutsi became Hutus because of their declining economic conditions (IJR 7). Colonial Roots The Rwandan conflict was historically ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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