Term Paper: Role of Colonial Influences in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide

Pages: 6 (1894 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Literature - African  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] In support of Hintjens argument, Habyarimana's henchmen also rid the country of Hutu political opponents (Storey 367). A year before the genocide, a power-sharing deal had been struck between Habyarimana and the RFP, but it was never implemented. The spark that seemed to ignite the genocide was the shooting down of the plane carrying Habyarimana in 1994. The RFP eventually defeated the Rwandan military later that year and an RFP-led government was established.


The factors that contributed to the 1994 Rwandan genocide were clearly influenced by colonial rule. Inequality was increased by the formal implementation of a class system. Cultural distance was increased when ethnicity became the basis for the colonial class system. Hutus and Tutsis were both invested in Rwanda so there would have been some immobility, but the greatest contribution to immobility would have been the veil of secrecy the Habyarimana regime maintained as they planned and orchestrated the genocide. Functional independence would likely not have been a contributing factor among the general public, since both Tutsi and Hutus had been living side-by-side and intermarrying since colonial rule ended; however, under President Habyarimana there would probably have been an increasing division between the ethnic groups economically and politically. These divisions would have been fostered by the periodic mass killings of unarmed Tutsis which they orchestrated. In the end, the Habyarimana regime took a page from the colonial rule book by fostering these divisions in the years leading up to the 1994 genocide. Together with the propaganda campaign denigrating Tutsis, a small group of powerful Hutus exploited the resources at their disposal and massacred over a tenth of their population to try and maintain political control of Rwanda. From a historical perspective, this would not have been possible without the German and Belgian colonial powers showing how a minority ethnic group can be manipulated into controlling a majority ethnic group.


1. Genocide is the mass killing of people based on their ethnicity (Campbell 150). The United Nations, however, defines genocide as the intentional destruction of any national, ethnic, racial, or religious group through any number of means, including violence, repression, persecution, or eugenics (Campbell 152).

Works Cited

Campbell, Bradley. "Genocide as Social Control." Sociological Theory 27.2 (2009): 150-72. Print.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Role of Colonial Influences in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide."  Essaytown.com.  May 8, 2014.  Accessed September 16, 2019.