Professor Susan Storrs
27 June 2012
Rwandan Genocide of 1994
Popularly known as the “100 Days of Massacre,” the 1994 genocide in Rwanda shocked the world as they watched in complete disbelief at the series of events that unfolded on the evening of April 6, 1994. The genocide lead to a death toll of over 800, 000 people, an estimate of about 20% of the country’s total population (Martin), and over 2 million were displaced from Rwanda as they fled to Zaire, now Republic of Congo (“Zaire/Democratic Rep.”). Scholars, journalists, and writers have attempted to explain how the genocide came about. Indeed, the Rwanda genocide of 1994 was caused by a variety of factors, which led to an inevitable outcome.
In comprehending the factors that lead to the events of the April 1994 mass murder in Rwanda, it is crucial to understand the social and ethnic instability of the country, which ultimately paved the way for the animosity that existed among the Rwandans. The composition of the Rwanda population is a mixture of Hutu, Tutsi and a few Twa ethnics (“Rwanda Genocide”). The total population consists of 85% Hutu, 14% Tutsi and 1% Twa (Martin). There are no underlying differences between these groups; they share the same language, customs and beliefs. The area that is now Rwanda is believed to have been initially settled by the Twa, who were closely followed by the Hutu, probably sometime between the 5th and 11th centuries, and then by the Tutsi, likely beginning in the 14th century (“Rwanda Genocide”). A long process of Tutsi migrations from the north culminated in the 16th century with the emergence of a small nuclear kingdom in the central region, ruled by the Tutsi minority, which persisted until the arrival of Europeans in the 19th century. The arrival of the Europeans brought about favoritism and a defining social difference between the Tutsi and Hutu (Martin). In addition to being favored by the colonial masters, the Tutsi also maintained...