Between April and July of 1994, more than 800,000 people, mostly Tutsi civilians, were slaughtered in a genocidal campaign organized by the Hutu hard-liners. By educating myself as well as others, I hope that we can prevent genocide organizers from eliminating the minority, Tutsi, and remove the tensions between these two groups. Pressure must be placed on the government to put the 120,000 suspected genocide criminals on trial . This topic is one of the most compelling human dramas of the century. Additionally, I am very interested in human rights violations that are occurring around the world and genocide seems to be the most extreme form of infringement.
By studying the history of Rwanda and Burundi I hope to understand the ethnic conflicts that are occurring. I would like to find more information about their local governments and why they supported the slaughtering of so many people. It is very important that problems such as these are not left ignored, but dealt with accordingly. Rwanda and Burundi history is marked by the continuing and constant battling between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes. Although the Tutsi are the minority tribe within central Africa, they were traditionally the leaders with power over the Hutu in Rwanda and Burundi .
The Tutsi and Hutu tribes, therefore, are highly significant actors for the genocide that took place in Rwanda and Burundi. The people of Rwanda and Burundi are divided into three distinct and specific tribal groups, all which share a common language. The pygmoid Twa constitute for less than one percent of the population and are hunters and forest dwellers . Their significance is minimal regarding the genocide that affected the Hutu and Tutsi tribes. Another tribal group are called the Hutu. The short, stocky, Hutu represent 85 percent of the population.
They never organized a centralized political system, and their alliance is based on small units formed around clans. Furthermore, their head chiefs have made them very vulnerable. The Hutu’s race is Bantu, and therefore their ancestry is located somewhere in central or southern Africa. The third group the Tutsi’s, entered and conquered Rwanda through a combination of force and persuasion.
The Tutsi represent a little more then 15 percent of the population and were militarily advanced compared to the Hutu. The Hutu come from Ethiopia, and became the most powerful tribe in Central Africa. The Tutsi’s acquired culture and beliefs from the Hutu’s. This aided in their assimilating and eventual success of tribal domination throughout Rwanda and Burundi . The Tutsi were clearly a minority in the region.
However, to say that this minority dominated over the majority Hutu is too simple. The Tutsi were more numerous and dominant in some areas than others. The Tutsi adopted the Hutu language, customs and traditions. The Hutu and Tutsi still battle today as both groups fight for land, freedom, and power. Another significant actor involved with the Genocide in Rwanda and Burundi Essay is the east African neighboring nation of Tanzania. Tanzania has served as a place of safe refuge for the fleeting people of Rwanda ad Burundi.
One example of Tanzania’s “Open Arm Policy” was in 1993, when they accepted nearly 300,000 citizens of Burundi who fled for their lives crossing the border to escape the bloody coup. A second example of their humanitarian efforts was in 1994, when over 500,000 people of Rwanda escaped the massacres of their homelands and retreated to the comforts of the neighboring nation, Tanzania . While there are many problems that in some way led to the genocide that occurred in Rwanda and Burundi, it is my contention that the dominant problem was the complete social division within the two countries. The division between the Hutu and Tutsi cuts through all aspects of life. The division that exists has defined life in these two volatile countries for generations. For many years, the Hutu and Tutsi tribes lived in an unstable peace with one another.
The Tutsi acted as feudal lords over the nation, equipped with their own monarchy and ruling elite. The Hutu served as serfs for their Tutsi lords. This arrangement provided an uneasy security for both parties. The majority Hutu population was governed and protected by the Tutsi, who in turn .