Rwanda part 2

The second part of the book documents the genocide itself. On April, 6 1994, President Habyarimana’s plane was shot down and he was killed. The Hutus blamed the incident on the RPF and promulgated the belief that every Tutsi was involved with the RPF. The Tutsis became the scapegoats and almost immediately the slaughter began. Hutus were encouraged and even forced to go out and murder as many Tutsis as they could. As one Hutu stated, “many killed to save their own lives” (p.127). Within three months nearly a million Tutsis were slaughtered, along with some Hutus who did not agree with the tactics. Throughout this period the international community remained reluctant to become involved. The UN even had peacekeeping forces in the region; however they were barely used and were not reinforced despite General Romeo Dallaire’s call for more troops and assistance. (General Dallaire was head commander of the UN peacekeeping force – Read more about his story in the book review of Shake Hands with the Devil on this website.) Many countries, including the United States failed to recognize the atrocities as genocide. The genocide finally came to a halt when the RPF gained control of the country.The final part of the book describes the aftermath of the genocide. One particularly disturbing fact is the negative role that the international community had on the region in the relief efforts. Many organizations helped the “genocidaires”, by providing them safety, food and comfort. This allowed them to regroup and even continue their terror on Tutsis in Rwanda and surrounding countries, such as Zaire. The region is still unstable and facing some very difficult times. The author makes it clear that much of the world just wants Rwanda to move on and forget about the genocide; however, Rwandans themselves are struggling with living next door to the same individuals who tried to kill them and their family. As one Tutsi survivor states, “the horror that we saw is intrinsic” (350).

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