A genocide is the mass murder of a large group of people and or a specific ethnic group or nation. In 1994, April through July, a genocide took place in Rwanda. Roughly 800,000 Rwandan people were massacred in just 100 days. This devastating event sparked after the Rwandan President’s plane was taken down, killing President Juvenal Habyarimana. The amount of people killed and how fast it all happened, left the people traumatized. Thousands of women were taken by the militia and were impregnated. Leaving them with a constant reminder of being held and what disgusting events took place while there. The Rwandan Genocide affected thousands of lives, lasted for many days, and destroyed hundreds of families.
The Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane was shot down above Kigali airport on April 6 of 1994. This sparked the Rwandan genocide which was between Hutus and Tutsis. The Hutus people were mostly the people that carried out the killings and the Tutsis were mostly the people that were being killed. The genocide was planned by Hutu people and many of them were a part of the national government. The Hutus people had a goal of wiping out all the Tutsi.
Many events and disagreements led up to the murder of the Rwandan president, Juvenal Habyarimana. Some of the Tutsi nationalist were forming the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). The aim of the RPF was to overthrow Rwandan President, Habyarimana and return to their homeland. This caused Tutsi hatred all throughout Rwanda. The Rwandan Patriotic Front, discrimination and the competing of power that led to the genocide and the murder of the Rwandan President.
Many people may ask about a genocide. Are there multiple different events in a genocide? How many are there? According to Stanton, “there are eight parts of a genocide.” The eight different stages of a genocide are “classification, symbolization, dehumanization, organization, polarization, extermination and denial,” (Stanton). According to Stanton, classification is the point when each party decides who they will be against. The next stage is symbolization, at this point, each party will decide the name of their group and if they will receive a symbol to be associated with their name (Stanton). The third stage is dehumanization, meaning that the process of killing begins. Organization is the next stage. Which means “All genocides are organized. At this stage, hate groups are organized, militias are trained and armed, and the armed forces are purged of members of the intended victim group as well as officers and others who might oppose genocide,” (Stanton). Stage five is polarization. During polarization, the moderate third parties are “targeted and assassinated,” (Stanton). Preparation is next, which according to Stanton means, “during the preparation stage, plans are made for the genocide. Death lists are compiled. Trial massacres are conducted, both as training for the genocidists, and to test whether there will be any response,” (Stanton). After preparation, extermination begins. Extermination means that the “genocide” has officially began. The final stage of genocide is denial. Stanton states “during and after every genocide, the perpetrators deny they committed the crime,” (Stanton). There were multiple “warnings” leading up to the genocide.
Thousands of women were raped during the Rwandan Genocide. Some even became pregnant. A young woman named Josette was taken by the militia. She and multiple different women were held in a home and were raped by many different men. Each and “every morning the men would come and hit the women 10 times. After hitting them, they got a different man,” (Torgovnik). Josette eventually became pregnant and had a little boy, his name was Thomas. “Once he grew up, he was very stubborn, and Josette says that it was not due to him knowing his mother did not love him. It was because of the blood that is in him,” (Torgovnik). Although Josette knew this child was innocent, she could not help but think that he was a result of rape. She says “I must be honest with you; I never loved this child. Whenever I remember what his father did to me, I used to feel that the only revenge would be to kill his son. But I never did that. I forced myself to like him, but he is unlikable,” (Torgovnik). Josette struggled to love Thomas as her child. She had never been pregnant before, never raised a child before, let alone raise and love a child from the result of rape. Multiple women became pregnant during the genocide. Each mother looked at their child a different way. Some mothers would view their children as a result of rape and other mothers would still view their children as being innocent. In order for a mother to love and appreciate the child as her own despite the circumstances, she must understand the father was the disgusting one and not the loving child.
Once this horrific genocide ended, it was still important for children to get their needs. Thousands of children were left to survive without one or both of their parents. However, some Rwandans have been very generous in providing the needs that orphans have. While many children were taken away from their families and some even had to take care of their younger siblings. Education was still a large part of a child’s needs. Many children, which were abandoned and had no educational rights or opportunities or a chance to become a part of a family, left. They left the city they had known, in order to fend for themselves and to survive on their own.
Most of the people that were involved in the genocide were people that were well known, people that were a part of Rwanda. A well-known musician named Simon Bikindi wrote music and sang songs. Bikindi was the first entertainer that was found to be “…guilty of a genocide-related charge,” (Simons). Mr. Bikindi’s rap music was made of lyrics promoting ethnic hatred, which was widely broadcasted and was sung by mobs as they killed their victims,” (Simons). The Rwandan people that were involved in the genocide were those that were well-known people. However, surprisingly seven people that were responsible for up to a million deaths were arrested for these horrific crimes. If these seven people would not have confessed to being responsible for the deaths of millions of people, they would not have been able to arrest them and punish them for the crimes they committed. These seven people arrested were prime ministers, former minister in the government, a colonel in the general staff of the Rwandan army, former editor-in-chief of the influential newspaper Kangura, former commander of the para-commando battalion of the Rwanda armed forces, former prefect of Butare,” (Suspected Rwandan Genocide Perpetrators Arrested). This goes to show how the people throughout the community are the ones responsible for the Rwandan people’s death.
Once this horrific event came to an end, at least 2,000,000 people had fled the country, including many of the Hutu and perpetrators. Their families were gone, and their community had been torn apart. While many families were torn apart, hundreds of children survived their parents, leaving them all alone. Many women survived due to the militia holding them in homes and taking advantage of them. Due to the women being held in homes and raped by the militia, they became pregnant. These mothers were left with the constant reminder of being taken advantage of and that reminder would never go away, as long as the mother would keep the child. After the genocide, about 70 percent of the population was women and 30 percent men. The Rwandan genocide left Rwandan families alone and destroyed.
The Rwandan Genocide was a very devastating event with a large death count and many unexpected people involved. Families were ruined and torn apart. Multiple children were placed into an orphanage, due to their family being killed or taken. Many mothers were left to raise their children alone and some mothers were raped and became pregnant, being forced to have the baby. Raising that child would be very hard on the mother and the mother would have to choose whether she could accept the circumstances and love the child or if she would have to disown that child. This genocide caused so many heartbreaks in Rwanda.