The Rwandan Genocide

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Rwanda is a country made up of a population with three ethnic communities, the two main communities, the Hutu and Tutsi and an additional community of Twa (or pygmies) who all spoke the same language, Kinyarwanda or Rwandan (Clapham, 1998). There is a stereotype of appearance attributed to these two main communities, with Tutsi being seen as tall and having an aquiline shaped nose, and the Hutu as being short and flat-nosed (Clapham, 1998). In the pre-colonial state of Rwanda, it was the Tutsis that occupied positions of power even though they were a minority community compared with the majority of the Hutu community, this remained the same until Habyarimana (a Hutu) became President (Clapham, 1998). The Germans, Europeans and Belgian’s colonised and during their time in Rwanda, made it known that they favoured the Tutsis over the Hutus, the Europeans going as far to regard the Hutu and Twa as inferior to the Tutsis (Clapham, 1998). The Belgians eventually changed their views, and favoured the Hutu, foreseeing that the majority Hutu would eventually become dominant (Magnarella, 2005). Supporting the coloniser’s views, Rwandan folktales describe the Tutsi as being intelligent and courageous, the Hutu as being obedient however not very clever, and the twa as loyal to the Tutsis, yet lazy and lacking in restraint (Clapham, 1998). The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) was established by Tutsis who were exiled from Rwanda, they retained a strong sense of identity and formed the

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