ethnicity :: hate is a global issue
|Ethnic divisions in Rwanda|
Genocides do not happen suddenly. Ethnic hate must begin and develop before genocide.
For Rwanda, Belgian colonists first planted seeds of ethnic hate when they distinguished the two ethnicities, minority Tutsi and majority Hutu, by the number of cows each owned, according to the official Rwandan government Web site.
However, it was the Rwandan government itself that perpetuated the ethnic hate since its 1962 independence, which eventually led to the killing of 500,000 to 1 million Tutsi and politically moderate Hutu in 1994.
“The 1994 genocide was the result of 30 years of teaching the ideology of division by all regimes that were in power since 1962,” said Michel Masozera, a Rwandan Tutsi who was in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the genocide.
The extremist Hutu dictatorships initiated seven massacres of political opponents and Tutsi between independence and the 1994 genocide, according to an International Media Support report. IMS promotes and strengthens press freedom and professional journalism in conflicted areas.
Meanwhile, exiled minority Tutsi who numbered around 600,000 organized multiple failed attacks on the dictatorships. Tutsi living in Rwanda were persecuted after every attempt, according to the Rwandan government's Web site.
Finally in 1990, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, a group of exiled Tutsi in Uganda, north of Rwanda, invaded Rwanda and demanded democratic change to the one-party, Hutu-extremist political system.
By 1992, the Hutu dictatorship accepted a transitional government and a peace agreement under the Arusha Accords, according to the IMS report.
However, democratization threatened the ruling Hutu elite and they ignored
Hours after the Rwandan president died in a plane crash on April 6, 1994, the genocide began: during the first week, 20,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu were murdered. Three months later, between 500,000 and 1 million were murdered. More than 2 million fled.
The RPF won the war in July 1994 and the genocide stopped.
However, Masozera, a University of Florida graduate, still struggles to understand how a government could deliberately kill its own population.
He said the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda helps Rwanda reconcile with its people.
“Of course, it will take some time to heal survivors of the genocide,” Masozera