Belgian And French Influence On The Rwandan Genocide

On April 6th, 1994, an blackwash of an 8 million populated state resulted in its tribesmen killing fellow tribesmen merely because their ID card stated they were Tutsi. This horrific turnout of events throughout the period of 100 yearss demands a batch of inquiries as to WHY all of these things happened. My self-research had led me to the colonial roots of Rwanda, but I ne’er had opportunity of showing my ideas in written signifier boulder clay I read a South African IB pupils essay on this topic. It inspired me to compose my drawn-out essay on it.

This essay hence will cover with the colonial bequest of Rwanda. It will discourse the history and the beginnings of the folks involved after which the impact of colonialism will be discussed on Colonial and post-colonial Rwanda. Towards the terminal, I will greatly stress on the fact that the influence of the Belgians was genuinely great in the 1994 race murder.

April 6th 1994, marked the beginning of the most recent and terrific race murder that took topographic point in Rwanda, a state located in the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa.[ 1 ]Rwanda, colonized by Belgians during the twentieth Century, was populated by 8,139,270[ 2 ]people at the clip. In a span of 100 yearss, Hutu extremists pitilessly butchered between 500,000 to 1 million[ 3 ]Watutsi and moderate Hutus.[ 4 ]Their purpose was ‘ethnic cleansing ‘ – to literally eliminate the full Tutsi population even if it meant killing guiltless adult females, kids and work forces. The violent deaths were against Tutsis by Hutus who lived together, whose kids schooled together, spoke the same linguistic communications, followed the same faith, and had inter-marriages between themselves for a really long clip.

Shortly after 8:20 pm local clip, on the dark of April 6th, 1994, a surface-to-air missile struck the Rwandan President ‘s plane doing it to break out in fires before crashing into the garden of the presidential castle, detonating on impact.[ 5 ]The Rwandan president was killed in this alleged blackwash and this event triggered the 1994 Genocide. It was the most immediate causes happening amidst high tenseness between the RPF[ 6 ]and the Rwandan authorities. The high tenseness resulted from the Rwandan Civil War, where 4 old ages ago, the RPF tried to occupy Northern Parts of Rwanda. The president ‘s blackwash hence, amidst this really unstable relationship between the two parties, outraged radical Hutus who so began the race murder.

The Rwanda race murder therefore, is an event of utmost panic. It leads us to inquire as to why a group of people, who were practically neighbours for old ages, would pitilessly seek to extinguish fellow Rwandans and advance Hutu power over all. Furthermore, expect to get down developing Rwanda as Hutus entirely.

This inquiry demands replies and this demand is non aimed at cleansing 1s scruples because nil had been done. Yes, a batch could hold been done to forestall this slaughter. 350 American Mariness stationed in Burundi, merely half an hr ‘s chopper ‘s flight off could hold helped halt these violent deaths.[ 7 ]Several Gallic and Belgian soldiers stationed in states neighbouring Rwanda could hold helped procure refugee which in bend could hold saved a batch of lives. The international community could hold helped do a difference in cut downing the decease toll, but their deficiency of response is non the purpose of this probe.

For the exclusive intent of this probe, we need to look for replies so as to acquire an apprehension of what really happened in Rwanda and besides to assist work out similar struggles in similar states such as Rwanda so as to avoid a Rwanda portion II.

To understand the purposes behind the violent deaths hence, it is necessary to critically analyse the happening of events before the race murder so that we understand that this was n’t an nightlong planned event, alternatively, it was preplanned long before 1994. This critical analysis of events will take us into look intoing the short term and the long term causes of the race murder.

When look intoing the short term causes, apart from the shot of the president ‘s plane, we are besides led to the Rwandan civil war and besides the events that occurred right after the civil war boulder clay 1994 and this leads us to the function the Gallic played in this slaughter. In the long term causes nevertheless, we are led back into history where the impact of colonialism in this state is observed. When summing up the two, we could state the Rwandan race murder was greatly influenced by the Belgian and the Gallic and for investigational intents, the inquiry as to what extent did the Gallic and the Belgians influence the 1994 Rwandan race murder is formed.

To transport out this probe, we will necessitate to look at pre-colonial times in Rwanda to analyse the influence of the Belgians in this slaughter and besides, we will necessitate to look at post-colonial Rwanda, largely after the 1980 ‘s where we can analyse the influence of the Gallic and understand what function they had to play in this slaughter. A brief description of the 1990 civil war will besides be presented to demo how it impacted the race murder. Throughout this full probe therefore, my purpose is to demo to that the Rwandan race murder was so greatly influenced by the Belgians and French.


To get down this probe, we foremost need to look at Pre-colonial Rwanda, after which we can depict the colonial patterns in Rwanda, and eventually, the impact it had on Post-colonial Rwanda and therefore measure the influence of the Belgians in the race murder. Hutus and Tutsis were present as separate folks even before colonialism. This implies that the two were different, and so their beginnings need to be studied.


The Rwandan population to day of the month consists of Hutus, Tutsis and the Twa.[ 8 ]The Twa comprises of 1 % of the Rwandan population[ 9 ]and due to their little Numberss, wo n’t be mentioned in this probe. The Hutus and Tutsis nevertheless make up 90 % and 9 % of the full Rwandan population severally.

There are many theories sing the origins/differences between the Hutus and Tutsis. Mahmoud Mamdani, a Ugandan bookman, celebrated for ‘When victims become slayers: colonialism, nativism, and the race murder in Rwanda ‘ , presents the different theories that lead to the fact that the Hutu and the Tutsi are so different. The theories are legion but can be classified into 3 chief classs ; the phenotype statement, the genotype statement and the migration theory. We will explicate each briefly.

The Phenotype, The Genotype and The Migration Theory

The phenotype statement trades with differences in build of the folk. The phenotype statement was introduced by colonialists in the nineteenth century who described Hutus as ‘short and thickset with a large caput, a gay look, a broad olfactory organ and tremendous lips ‘[ 10 ]and Tutsis as ‘very tall, really thin with a high forehead, thin olfactory organ and all right lips bordering beautiful reflecting dentition. ‘[ 11 ]Mamdani states that the physical differences were confirmed scientifically.

The genotype statement trades with differences in familial composing between the Hutus and Tutsis. In a 1987 survey on familial features and history of the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa, it was discovered that Tutsis, despite the fact they were surrounded by populations identified as ‘the Bantus ‘ , they ( the Watutsi ) were still closer to Cushites[ 12 ]and Ethiosemites[ 13 ]every bit far as familial heritage was concerned. A different survey was carried out and they came to a decision that the bulk Hutus ‘ cistrons contained the reaping hook cell trait but this was barely or ne’er observed in the Tutsis.[ 14 ]This is grounds therefore that even genetically, Hutus and Tutsis are different.

The migration theory trades with where the Hutus and Tutsis come from. Harmonizing to most experts, Hutus are believed to hold been the laminitiss of Rwanda and were ever a portion of this state. Watutsi nevertheless were the immigrants and we will therefore trade with where the Watutsi came from. The migration theory or the Hamitic theory has been used in finding the beginnings of Tutsis. The Hamitic theory is a racialist political orientation developed by Europeans that promotes the fact that all ‘better looking Africans ‘[ 15 ]were really a consequence of the influence of an foreigner race. It besides states that the beginnings of the Hamites[ 16 ]prevarication in the Horn of Africa.[ 17 ]. The Horn of Africa is a peninsula in East Africa that juts for 100s of kilometres into the Arabian Sea, and lies along the southern side of the Gulf of Aden.[ 18 ]This is where Watutsi are believed to hold come from.

After holding discussed the theories above, we have now come to a full apprehension of the differences between the two folks, in footings of build, familial heritage and where they come from. We can now travel to analyse the history of Rwanda ; or, the monarchial system of this state.


Rwanda, like other African states, was founded on a monarchial system which began systematizing during the fifteenth century.[ 19 ]Before the fifteenth century nevertheless, Rwanda was based on a leading system that divided her into different Bantu provinces with Hutu heads as leaders. The migration of Tutsis during the fifteenth century nevertheless changed everything. Watutsi conquered Rwanda and a monarchial system began organizing.

The male monarchs were known as ‘Mwamis ‘ and were largely Tutsis.[ 20 ]Get downing with ‘Ndahiro I ‘ as the first male monarch during the fourteenth century, to ‘Samembe ‘ during the fifteenth century ( perchance the first Tutsi male monarch ) to ‘Kigeli V ‘ ( the last Tutsi male monarch ) , the Rwandan monarchial system had been formed.

The Tutsis established a monarchy headed by a Mwami and a feudal hierarchy of Tutsi Lords and aristocracy where even though the closest ‘spiritual advisers ‘ of the male monarch were Hutus, Tutsi male monarchs did technically rule Rwanda.[ 21 ]A system, by the name of ‘Ubuhake ‘ was introduced where Hutu husbandmans pledged commitment of them and of their posterities to a Mwami in return for loans that included cowss, pastoral and cultivable land. Through the class of clip nevertheless, a new and much more opprobrious system by the name of ‘Umuheto ‘ was introduced where land that belonged to lineages many of whom were Hutus, were now the belongings of the royal household.[ 22 ]The new system was designed to work the Hutu tribesmen.[ 23 ]Rwanda was now to the full under the control of the Tutsis.

Towards the terminal of the nineteenth century, all land that one time belonged to a Hutu would now belong to the royal household. The highest stations in the male monarchs system of governing were given to Tutsis as opposed to Hutus who were little clip heads. By the terminal of the nineteenth century, the Hutus and Tutsis were no longer separated by their biological differences ; the separation was more in footings of category and ‘political ‘ position.


After holding looked at the beginnings of the Hutus and the Tutsis, we can now look at the extent to which colonialism or the Belgians influenced the race murder. This can be done by analysing the colonial patterns that defined the relationships between the Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda.

Even though Rwanda had been placed under the Germans during the Berlin Conference in 1889,[ 24 ]colonial patterns had non begun in Rwanda boulder clay she was placed under the Belgians in 1919.[ 25 ]The Belgians chose the Watutsi to govern over Hutus. One must understand that the Belgians pick of Tutsis regulation, over the Hutus was non a consequence of the monarchial province of Rwanda nowadays at the clip ; a racial political orientation viz. the Hamitic theory was behind this determination.

The Watutsi or the Hamites were known as ‘better looking African ‘s due to their visible radiation skinned nature. The Belgians believed that Tutsis were ‘superior ‘ to Hutus because they looked more like them. On this land hence, Tutsis were chosen to govern over the Hutus. Together with choosing of Tutsis to govern over the Hutus, Belgians besides created farther separations by prefering Tutsis over Hutus in many other factors. The colonial-government, for grounds of development, formed Torahs that made it compulsory for Rwandans to turn certain hard currency harvests. To connote this, the colonialists threatened to flog the Watutsi if their Torahs were n’t abided even if it meant that Tutsi heads whipped Hutus.[ 26 ]The Watutsi who were in power at the clip abided by the Torahs but some and this farther broke down dealingss between Hutus and Tutsis.

In add-on to the tanning, Belgian colonialists besides worsened dealingss by allowing merely Tutsis rights to instruction. The Belgians, at the beginning allowed Tutsi heads and their households to come in schools. Through the class of clip, more Watutsi were admitted into schools. Even though a few Hutus were admitted, the sum of Tutsis admitted was much more than Hutus therefore demoing ‘Tutsi high quality ‘ .

Once once more, Belgian colonialists worsened dealingss by presenting I.D cards where a Rwandan was now identified by the folk he belonged to. This wholly destroyed dealingss between the two folks as one would n’t place his neighbour as a citizen of Rwanda, alternatively by the folk he belonged to.


After holding discussed the history of Rwanda and the impact colonialism had in this state, we now need to look at how the Belgian colonial bequest lived and affected Rwanda, to the extent of being a major influence in the race murder.

Rwanda and independency

The cardinal factor in cognizing how the Belgians influenced the race murder is to understand what they did right before they left Rwanda. An incident in 1959 affecting members of the Tutsi ground forces assailing a Hutu political leader caused public violences taking to battles between the two folks. The Hutus nevertheless were more than the Watutsi and because of fright of farther putschs, the Belgians transferred power from the Watutsi to the Hutus.[ 27 ]This changed everything in Rwanda. Hutus who had suffered old ages of suppression by the Tutsis had taken over and wanted retaliation. They claimed that Rwanda was now ruled by its existent and most original people[ 28 ]and it was no longer under the regulation of foreigners – the Watutsi.[ 29 ]The Hamitic theory in respect to Tutsis being foreigners was foremost developed by Belgians and on them go forthing, we see Hutus utilizing the same racial political orientation against the Watutsi and sing them as an ‘alien ‘ race that should travel back to where they it foremost come from. This was the beginning of ‘Hutu power ‘ .

Rwanda, in 1962 under the leading of the Hutu Gregoire Kayibanda, like other militants in Africa, fought for independency and got the Belgian colonialists to go forth. He was replaced nevertheless by Juvenal Habyarimana in 1973, who overthrew Kayibanda ‘s authorities because of Kayibanda ‘s anti-Tutsi policies. Even though Habyarimana was a Hutu, he was a moderate. After holding won the presidential elections, Habyarimana promoted peace and integrity between the two folks where he claimed to take Rwanda with its authorities protecting Hutus and Tutsis wholly together as one.[ 30 ]

The influence of the Belgians in the 1994 Genocide

Even though Habyarimana promoted integrity between the two, the fact that the Hutus lived under suppression of the Tutsis for all that clip before independency was the cause of hate of the bulk Hutus towards the minority Tutsis. Educational establishments promoted cultural differences between the two. Watutsi were now wholly considered as an foreigner race and because of this, Hutus and Tutsis were considered separate instead than one and Habyarimana ‘s execution of a peaceable Rwanda was n’t taking form. Some beginnings province that the church promoted the same political orientation as the educational establishments where the bucked up Hutus to acquire even with the Watutsi for the wrongs that had occurred in history.

These establishments were greatly influential in Rwanda and the encouragement of racism against the Watutsi increased throughout the old ages as a consequence of the schools and churches. This racism was a consequence of the Belgians dividing the two folks in footings of ethnicity instead than the political position that had already been present. It was besides because of the changeless favoring of the Tutsis over the Hutus during colonial times and worst of all, reassigning power to avenge desiring Hutus right before they left. With groundss from the probe so far, we can reason that the Belgians were so a great influence in the race murder as a consequence of the colonisation of this state.

We have now evaluated the influence of the Belgians in the race murder. As mentioned in the beginning of this probe, the Belgians were a long term cause for the race murder. The short term cause was the Rwandan civil war in 1990 and the aid the Gallic had given to the Hutus to transport out the slaughter. We will now travel on to discourse the influence of the Gallic in the race murder and briefly discuss the civil war as one of the short term causes.