• What is the main factor that caused the Hutu-Tutsi conflict?
- About 600 years ago an ethnic group called the Hutus resided in the lands of Rwanda in central Africa. Tutsis a tall warrior from Ethiopia invaded the homelands of the Hutus, in return the Hutus agreed to raise crops for the Tutsis in exchange for protection from the invaders. – 1897 when the Germans colonized Rwanda. The Germans had a very weak control in the region and were completely dependent on the indigenous government. According to wikipedia “the Tutsi ruling class was a superior racial type who, because of their apparent “Hamitic” origins on the Horn of Africa, were more “white” than the Hutus they oppressed, and thus the Tutsi oppression of the Hutu seemed somehow normal and expected – Because of the exposure of Rwanda to capitalist European the Tutsi power was weakened. Another way of weakening the power of the Tutsis was by the introduction of the head-tax on all Rwandans by the Germans. As many Tutsis had feared, the introduction of the tax also made the Hutus feel less bonded to the will of their patrons.
- At the end of World War 1, a portion of the German territory which was never the part of the Kingdom of Rwanda was exposed from the colony and attached to Tanganyika, which had been mandated to the British. In 1918 under the Treaty of Versailles the former German colony of Rwanda-Urundi is made a United Nations protectorate to be governed by Belgium.
History of the Conflict
- In 1962 the Belgians introduced a system of ethnic identity cards which differentiates the Hutus from the Tutsis. In 1963, several attacks against the Tutsis occurred in Rwanda as a result of Tutsi attacks on the exiled Tutsis in Burundi. Further massacres were executed in 1967. – In 1973, General Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, took power and sets up a one-party state. – The National Revolutionary Movement for Development(NRMD), Habyarimana’s political party, was formed. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Hutu was favored more in public services and military jobs than Tutsis. Here we can see a clear illustration of racial discrimination being enforced in front of the Rwandans. – The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a Tutsi dominated organization, was formed from the Rwandan exiles in Uganda who were victorious in the Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Army.
- Rwanda was invaded around October 1990 by the RPF from Uganda. The French and Zairean troops assisted but after a series of violent fighting, a peace treaty was signed on March 29, 1991. – Around 1990-1991, the Rwandan army began training and arming the Interhamwe, Hutu militiamen. 1993, RPF initiated another attack and reached the border of Kigali. The government called for reinforcements from the French military.
- After months of negotiations, a peace accord was signed by the active government and the RPF. Its effects allow the return of refugees and the coalition of Hutu and RPF. The U.N. sent 2,500 troops to watch over the peace negotiations.
- From September 1993 – March 1994, training of the militia intensified and the extremist radio station, Radio Mille Collines, began braodcasting messages that encourage the extermination of Tutsis. Human rights groups started warning the international community about upcoming violence and disastrous events.
- By March 1994, family evacuations were already executed as human rights group believed that massacres were already widespread.
- April 6, 1994, Habyarimana’s plane crashed after being shot near the Kigali airport. The plane was carrying both President Juvenal Habyarimana himself of Rwanda and Prseident Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi. This signalled the beginning of the Rwandan genocide and the extremists were accused of the plane crash.
- The Tutsis were considered as the ruling class and the dominant race in Rwanda during the colonial era of the Germans and Belgians. When these colonizers gave the independence of the Rwandans, the power was left to the minority Hutus, who were once oppressed by the Tutsis. By then, the conflict between these two ethnic groups heated up. For the Hutus, they see that the cause of this conflict is to take revenge for the oppression of theTutsis during their time of rule. For the Tutsis, the cause of the conflict is also revenge as a result of the discrimination.
Significance Of The Study
-The significance of this study is to help our country in coming up with solutions for racial conflicts. This gives us an idea on how to deal with ethnic conflicts concerning racial discrimination and how to resolve it with a non-violent action. History can help find better ways of making decisions and doing things. By knowing our past, we know the present conditions better.
Scope and limitation
- We limit our research only within the Hutu-Tutsi conflict as according to gathered available sources of information on the light of the political, socio-economic and military uprisings in Rwanda within the time of its existence that led to genocide since causes of past events are difficult to determine. Critical analysis and interpretation of surviving records will ascertain the facts. Words and statements mean different things to different people, cultures and times making it hard to agree on the extent to which generalizations can be made.
Topics which have not been fully explored:
One of the topics which have not yet been explored regarding the study of the Hutu-Tutsi conflict is the relationship between religion and racial discrimination. There’s this article that focused on the participation of the Catholic Church members in the genocide. Most of the studies did not include this information. Studies usually center on racism due to the physical differences between Hutus and Tutsis. Religion also played a big role in aggravating the conflict. Elaboration of the role of this aspect can help us unravel the main cause of the conflict leading to the horrendous genocide. It can also provide us ways on how to prevent future occurrence of these violence.
Validation of Hypothesis/Existing Studies:
Validity deals with the relationship of the data obtained to the purpose for which data have been collected. All related literature point to the findings that racism is the main factor that caused the Hutu-Tutsi conflict. Whether on the aspect of physical features, religion or wealth that created the difference between the Hutus and the Tutsis as theorized in the different studies, critical and logical thinking tantamount to lead and result to racism or racial discrimination as causing the conflict in form of a violent genocide. The purpose of the research has been served, concluding that the main factor of the conflict is racism and it gave light to the way it could be prevented.
Operational Definition of Terms:
Race – This term has been used to include groupings of people with common features. In this study, it is a non-manipulable factor identified as possible main cause of the Hutu-Tutsi conflict.
Racism or Racial Discrimination- In this study, this term may be defined as hostility towards another race believing that their race is better than the other, as in the case of the Hutus and the Tutsis.
Physical features- In this study, this term include the characteristics of an individual or group of individuals like height, weight, skin color and specific facial form which serves as basis in the formulation of discriminatory attitudes among the Hutus and the Tutsis.