Term Paper: Rwanda: A Culture of Genocide

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¶ … Genocide Culture

The history and events of Rwanda that have produced a persistent acceptance of a Genocide culture

FLOW of INFORMATION

Children who are raised in abusive homes often become so accustomed to the abuse that it becomes the norm. They begin to quietly accept the atrocities of abuse as if they were acceptable practices and they no longer think about how to escape to safety. In addition to abuse in the home, there is something called the Stockholm syndrome. It is a syndrome in which those who have been kidnapped or held captive begin to identify with the kidnapper and even sympathize with their point-of-view. In the event that they are rescued they tell others that they miss the kidnapper, they are not angry and they hope the kidnapper/abuser does not get punished for his or her actions. Finally, there are the cases of abused women. These women return to their abusers again and again, even after escaping for short periods of time. They are defeated and they believe it is their destiny in life, as they accept it as fact. All of these examples illustrate what can happen when a mindset of acceptance regarding an undesirable situation sets in. When a persistent, ever present mentality, is allowed to develop, much hope is lost and the problems that began with force, find themselves accepted and perpetuated by choice. The nation of Rwanda has been a controversial topic for several years, throughout the world. While the United States and others fight diligently to free the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and other places of oppression, it seems to many that the plight of those in Rwanda has been largely ignored.

This paper examines the plight of Rwanda. It explores the history and demographic make up of the nation and then takes a hard look at its political issues and economic situation. The situation in Rwanda is also compared to Nazi Germany and the Biafran War to determine the similarities and differences they hold in comparison to the Rwanda situation. Rwanda's history of Genocide and the eventual acceptance of a culture of genocide lays the foundation for the conclusion that reconciliation will not work at this time in that country.

Facts About the Nation

Before one can begin to understand the underlying issues behind the genocide mindset that exists in Rwanda, it is important that one have an understanding about the demographic makeup of the nation and the daily lives of those who reside there.

Worldwide, people have known for many years that the Sub-Saharan African region is arguably the most densely populated region in the world (Rwanda Demographics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Rwanda).On any given evening, one can turn on a television and watch non-profit organizations pleading for donations that will be sent to the area to relieve some of the famine and disease issues the residents struggle to overcome. Within that region of the world, Rwanda is perhaps the most highly populated areas there is. Even following the Genocide of 1994 the density remained much higher than other comparable areas.

While there are very few organized villages in Rwanda, each family does manage to carve out a compound existence in the hillsides of the nation (Rwanda Demographics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Rwanda).

Administrative Centers form the only urban styled groupings in the nation with those who live there, grouping closely around the centers in haphazard methods.

Among the people of Rwanda, there are three primary ethnic groups, to include, the Hutus, the Tutsis and the Twa.

The Hutus take up the majority of the population with 85% of those who live there. The group is comprised of farmers of the Bantu origin. The Tutsis total 14% of the population and they are a pastoral people with the Twa holding the final 1% and being pygmies. Unlike television and movie portrayals, that show pygmies as illiterate savages, the truth is that more than half the population of Tutsis can read and write and five percent of those go on to attain secondary educations.

Although Rwanda is the smallest nation in Central Africa, it is densely populated with over eight and a half million residents within its borders. The nation has a significantly high mortality rate, in part due to the serious AIDS epidemic that it has experienced for the past few decades (Rwanda Demographics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Rwanda).

The following statistics apply to Rwanda's make-up:

0-14 years: 41.9% (male 1,558,730; female 1,548,175)

15-64 years: 55.6% (male 1,943,268; female 1,971,542)

65 years and over: 2.5% (male 83,699; female 123,715) (2006 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.43% (2006 est.)

Birth rate: 40.37 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate: 16.09 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2006 est.) (Rwanda Demographics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Rwanda)"

The average life expectancy for those who live in Rwanda, is 47. 3 years, a somber figure given the current life expectancies of other nations around the world. This is impacted by the AIDS epidemic as well as other factors such as famine, illness and lack of proper medical care. The rate is also impacted by the results of the 1994 Genocide that occurred as it lowered the overall lifespan for the general population statistically.

The average family consists of two parents and 5.43 children.

Within the nation, there are a small number of Indians, Arabs, French, British and Belgian nationals residing there (Rwanda Demographics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Rwanda).

Religiously, the majority of the nation falls under the Roman Catholic Church (56%) while 26% are Protestant and 11% are Seventh Day Adventists. There are also small pockets of Muslim believers dispersed in Rwanda.

The primary languages of the nation are "Kinyarwanda (official) universal Bantu vernacular, French (official), English (official), Kiswahili (Swahili) used in commercial centers (Rwanda Demographics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Rwanda)."

Rwanda is located in Central Africa. http://media.maps.com/magellan/Images/RWANDA-W1.gif

The History of Rwanda

For one to understand how the culture of Genocide pervaded the nation it is important to understand the history of Rwanda.

Today, the Twa only make up one percent of the total national population but in the beginning they were the only inhabitants of Rwanda. It is believed that they were eventually followed by the Hutus who at that time outnumbered the Twa's in significant percentages by a.D. 1000. The Hutus and the Twa lived amicably in Rwanda for many years when the Tutsis migrated to the area during the 15th century.

Once the Tutsis arrived there were struggles in which they came out on the dominate end over the Hutus (History http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/world/A0860866.html).

It was during this time that the Tutsis decided to establish several states within the nation of Rwanda and by the turn of the 18th century most of Rwanda became a single Tutsis ruled state of domain.

The government was a monarchy and there was a king who was charged with overseeing and controlling the regionally-based vassals. These were also comprised of Tutsi. The Tutsis continued to rule the Hutus even though the Hutus outnumbered the Tutsis. Under this regime Rwanda continued to gain power in the area until the 19th century when it reached its height of power. It was during the 19th century when under the rule of Mutara II and Kigeri IV that there was an established standing army developed (History http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/world/A0860866.html).This army was equipped with many of the modern day equipment including guns that had been obtained through deals with traders from the East African Coast. In addition to the development of the standing army and the modern equipment the King of Rwanda also began to forbid any foreign travelers or visitors from entering the Rwanda borders.

Even given the power and strength that Rwanda had at that time the government decided in 1890 to accept a new government that was an overrule by Germany. At that time Germany was allowed to take over the nation of Rwanda without resistance because the powers of Rwanda believed that it would benefit the residents of the nation. In addition it believed if a war were to break out between the two nations, Rwanda would most likely lose that conflict. For those reasons there was a non-hostile takeover of Rwanda by Germany at that time (History http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/world/A0860866.html).

It became part of German East Africa.

Strangely enough, even though Germany took over the nation, it did not move to provide any economic development, nor did it provide a leader until 1907. In fact for the most part it allowed Rwanda to carry on as it had before it fell under German rule. Belgian forces did move to occupy Rwanda in 1916 and in 1919 it became part of the Belgian League of Nations by a ruling of Ruanda0Urundi. This later became a United Nations territory of trust (History http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/world/A0860866.html).

Until the last years of Belgian rule the traditional social structure of Rwanda was not altered; considerable Christian missionary work, however, was undertaken.

In 1957 the Hutus issued a manifesto calling for a change… [END OF PREVIEW]

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