Rwanda Essay

This essay has a total of 9043 words and 38 pages.

Rwanda



Michael Bloom



Rwanda

The prime minister of Rwanda Agathe Uwilingiyimana was brutally murdered in front of her
family. She was at home when government soldiers overwhelmed the troops protecting her.
In front of her family she was told to take off her clothes and spread her legs, she did
both without argument. She was then stabbed in her vagina until the bayonets came through
her neck. The prime minister’s husband and mother were also killed; her kids did manage
to escape (Berry 14).

“We were pretending to be dead. They took stones and smashed the heads of the bodies.
They took little children and smashed their heads together. When they found somebody
breathing, they pulled them out and finished them off…. They killed my family. I saw them
kill my papa and my brother, but I did not see what happened to my mother.”

--Valentina Iribagiza, a survivor
of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda(Hentoff 36)

“They took one person out of the group and cut off his head. And even the pregnant women,
they cut open their stomachs…I saw my father being killed. They cut him to pieces

--Placide Uwinagiye, another survivor
of the holocaust in Rwanda (Hentoff 36)

These horrible acts could have been prevented. Two major players in the world knew well
before hand of the horrors about to take place. The United States and the United Nations
both stood by and did nothing to stop the atrocities taking place in Rwanda.

To think that the killing in Rwanda started to form in October 1990 and culminated in July
1994 is a misunderstanding of thirty years. Starting in 1959 with the social revolution
of the Hutu peasants that resulted in twenty thousand Tutsis deaths. From 1959 until 1990
there was numerous occasions where Tutsis were murdered. With every murder that went
unpunished the country was taking another step towards genocide. For thirty years the
majority of Tutsis population lived just outside of the Rwandan border. Another
misconception is that the Tutsis never treated the Hutu wrongly. Before the social
revolution of 1959 the Tutsis kept the Hutu population in roles of servitude. The tension
between the two ethnic groups has been high since the first attempts to colonize Rwanda
back in 1885. The fact that the genocide was carried out by Rwandans against Rwandans is
what is going to make the process of healing take longer and be much harder.


The Rwanda genocide could have been avoided, the United Nations and United States had
received early reports of the stock piling of weapons and the hatful broadcast being
played over the radio. Word of the coming terror reached the White House, the State
Department, Defense Department and the United Nations as early as 1989. But the warnings
were ignored (Hentoff 36). During the genocides of world war two the killings were taking
place in camps away from the publics view. In Rwanda the killing were taking place in
public by neighbor against neighbor. The international community had a much greater
ability to know what was taking place in Rwanda-it was broadcast around the world by CNN.
Plus the military strength of Rwanda was less then the might of Hitler’s forces (Berry 7).
Ten percent of the Hutu population took part in the killings that leaves ninety percent
that either did not or tried to help their neighbors. Hutu who were thought to have
helped Tutsis were also killed. Add deaths caused by disease and starvation the number of
people that died during four months reaches one and a half million. That comes out to one
person every ten seconds. The Nazis used gas chambers, ovens and starvation to kill six
million Jews over nine years. Hutu’s used machetes, clubs and boards with nails stuck in
them to kill eight hundred thousand people in one hundred days.

United States
It is blatantly clear that the Clinton administration did everything in its power to keep
America out of Rwanda. One factor is that eighteen United States rangers died in Somalia.
So why should Americans die in some foreign country that is going through a civil war?
The fact that the public thought what was going on in Rwanda was a civil war is because
the Clinton administration refused to call it genocide even though the administration had
documented reports stating it was. If the public knew that genocide was happening then
there would have been a greater demand for it to be stopped. Calling it a civil war made
it an internal matter for the Rwandans to handle themselves and not the United States
place to get involved.

James Woods, deputy assistant secretary at the Defense Department from 1986 to 1994, says:
“In the spring of ’93, when the Clinton administration came in, we were asked to develop
lists of what we thought would be serious crises this administration might face…I put
Rwanda on the list, but I received guidance from higher authorities: ‘If something happens
in Rwanda we don’t care. Take it off the list. United States national interest is not
involved, and you know we can’t put all these silly humanitarian interest on the
list—unlike important problems like the Middle East and North Korea” (Hentoff 32). That
statement reflects the fact that the Clinton administration did not care about Rwanda
because there was interest in the area, unlike oil in the Middle East or the threat to
America from nuclear weapons by North Korea.

It is sad that Americans lost their lives in Somalia but does that justify sitting back
and letting eight hundred thousand people die? If we stayed out of Rwanda solely because
of the American deaths in Somalia that is saying that one American life has more value
then four Europeans, ten Asians and thousands of Africans. A human life should be equally
valued because it’s a human life and not because of the race or ethnic make up of that
life! That sort of cocky attitude is exactly what gave the Americans the reputation we
have today. To the face of the cocky kid in school people smile and befriend him or her
but behind their backs lurks hatred and resentment. That hatred and resentment is what’s
making it so dangerous for our military population stationed around the world. There were
cases where American troops weren’t even needed. Belgium asked the United Nations for
more support to reinforce its own soldiers in the United Nations component there. But, as
Alan Kuperman reported in The Washington Post (December 29, 1998), “The United States
vetoed Belgium’s request” so not only was Belgium forbidden to protect its own soldiers,
but no country could help (Hentoff 28).

America constantly tried to stop any involement into Rwanda. Madeline Albright, then our
ambassador to the United Nations is solely responsible for delaying troop deployment and
troop movement that caused tens of thousands of lives. By no means did the Clinton
administration want to get involved. Did race play an issue in our inactions? It is fair
to wonder why the innocents of Kosovo are to be accorded the protection of the United
States and Western Europe, when the innocents of Rwanda were not. The horrifying genocide
took place in Africa not Europe. Should that have made a difference? Perhaps it did
(Golway 6). What was going on in Kosovo was portrayed by the media as a big bully
(Milosoviec) beating up on the small guy (Albanians). In Rwanda the media wrongly
portrayed it as a civil war implying that the African tribes cannot govern themselves and
still need American and European help.

The down playing of calling what was going on in Rwanda genocide comes from the fact that
America was planning to do nothing. During 1994 congressional elections were coming soon
and democrats would lose votes if genocide was taking place and America was doing nothing
(Hentoff 28). Votes were more important then human lives. I wonder if instead of Rwanda
it were Kosovo would that make America act and not worry about votes.

America’s inaction in Rwanda is incomprehensible. How Madeleine Albright and Bill Clinton
live with themselves? What was to gain from sitting back and doing nothing? If America
wants to be the last superpower then it should live up to the job. No matter where the
atrocities occur and who are the victims. Whether or not there is any gain in it for
America should not matter. America should step in anytime a smaller weaker party is
getting taken advantage of; it’s America’s duty as a superpower.

United Nations
The United Nations was established after the Second World War because of the holocaust.
The United Nations is basically the peacekeeping force of the world. It was made to make
sure crimes against humanity and genocide would not happen again. Its main purpose is to
stop genocide before it starts. In the case of Rwanda that is exactly what the United
Nations did not do. Before the killings started, Kofi Annan (then in charge of the United
Nations peacekeeping mission and now secretary general of the UN) was told that the Hutus
were piling up weapons and that the United Nations forces there in Rwanda could seize
those weapons. Annan refused to give the order—although many lives could have been saved
(Hentoff 34). Annan then did something even more baffling he ordered his man in Rwanda to
share the information with the President of Rwanda Juvenal Habyarimana. But the president
was the one who authorized the use of those very weapons to eliminate the Tutsis. The
United Nations sent a force of two thousand five hundred men called UNAMIR (United Nations
Assistance Mission to Rwanda). UNAMIR was sent to Rwanda under a chapter six mandate,
which meant that UNAMIR was to monitor a peacekeeping operation that was already under way
and could only use deadly force in self-defense and in the protection of United Nation
installations. A chapter seven mandate would of allowed UNAMIR to use deadly force to
establish law and order and impose peace in a particular country or conflict (Berry 142).
The only way the United Nations could order a chapter seven is through approval of the
international community, which of course, denied the mandate. The international community
then orders that the force be reduced to four hundred men.

The United Nations then placed an embargo on the Rwandan people, an embargo that did
nothing to hurt the aggressors since they were already armed. What the embargo did was to
prevent those that could collect arms and defend themselves (Berry 109). The Untied
Nations was complacent in their attempt to bring the two parties to an agreement one
reason being is that the United Nations was calling the war in Rwanda a civil war not an
open war of aggression. The United Nations also sent UNAMIR into Rwanda with more then
one mission. UNAMIR was sent in to protect mainly the capital city of Kigali and did
nothing to stop the killings in surrounding areas. Even though controlling the city of
Kigali was one of the missions of UNAMIR that was also done poorly. The plane that
President Habyarimana was in was shot down when coming in for a landing at the airport of
Kigali an airport that was supposed to be guarded by UNAMIR. No investigation was
launched to find out who perpetrated the act and UNAMIR itself is under scrutiny for
terrorist acts against civilians wrongly accused. The United Nations adopted a wait and
see attitude when the aggression towards the Tutsis started (Berry 111). Kofi Annan
indicts the usual bureaucratic suspects: lousy communications, bad information and
decision-making inertia (Wallace 34).

Rwanda was by any measures one of the worst atrocities to occur in one of the bloodiest
century ever. The genocide that occurred in Rwanda has been labeled ‘the preventable
genocide’. The United Nations and United States are not the only ones to blame for the
massacre of the Tutsis, but they were the most able to stop it. Both were informed well
in advance but the United States chose to stay out and the United Nations acted liked it
really didn’t care. The same words and apologies that were spoken after the Holocaust
again are being used, phrases like ‘never again’ and ‘we didn’t grasp the full affect of
what was happening’. These apologies and words mean nothing to the victims of the Rwandan
genocide, what is needed is time and reparations to rebuild a devastated country. The
irony of it all is that when the world was celebrating the fifty year anniversary of the
closing of the Nazis death camps the acts of genocide were happening all over again in
Rwanda.






Work Cited
Berry, John, and Carol Berry, Genocide In Rwanda
Washington D.C: Howard University Press 1999.
Golway, Terry. “Life in the 90’s.” America 4-10-99
Vol. 180, issue 12 p6-par. 1
Academic Search Elite. Online. EBSCO 10-6-00
Hentoff, Nat. “The Triumph Of Evil.” Village Voice 3-09-99
Vol. 49, issue 9 p32-par. 3 & 4
Academic Search Elite. Online. EBSCO 10-6-00
----------- “The Holocaust Without Guilt” Village Voice 3-16-99
Vol. 44, issue 10, p28-par. 3 & 4
Academic Search Elite. Online. EBSCO 10-6-00
----------- “A Holocaust We Could Have Stopped” Village Voice 3-02-99
Vol. 44, issue 8, p36-par. 2 & 3
Academic Search Elite. Online. EBSCO 10-10-00
Wallace, Bruce. “The Rwanda Debacle” Maclean’s 1-10-00
Vol. 113 issue 2, p34-par. 2 & 3
Academic Search Elite. Online. EBSCO 10-10-00







Michael Bloom
Prof. Andrews
Comp II M-W-F 11-11:50


Rwanda

The prime minister of Rwanda Agathe Uwilingiyimana was brutally murdered in front of her
family. She was at home when government soldiers overwhelmed the troops protecting her.
In front of her family she was told to take off her clothes and spread her legs, she did
both without argument. She was then stabbed in her vagina until the bayonets came through
her neck. The prime minister’s husband and mother were also killed; her kids did manage
to escape (Berry 14).

“We were pretending to be dead. They took stones and smashed the heads of the bodies.
They took little children and smashed their heads together. When they found somebody
breathing, they pulled them out and finished them off…. They killed my family. I saw them
kill my papa and my brother, but I did not see what happened to my mother.”

--Valentina Iribagiza, a survivor
of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda(Hentoff 36)

“They took one person out of the group and cut off his head. And even the pregnant women,
they cut open their stomachs…I saw my father being killed. They cut him to pieces

--Placide Uwinagiye, another survivor
of the holocaust in Rwanda (Hentoff 36)

These horrible acts could have been prevented. Two major players in the world knew well
before hand of the horrors about to take place. The United States and the United Nations
both stood by and did nothing to stop the atrocities taking place in Rwanda.

To think that the killing in Rwanda started to form in October 1990 and culminated in July
1994 is a misunderstanding of thirty years. Starting in 1959 with the social revolution
of the Hutu peasants that resulted in twenty thousand Tutsis deaths. From 1959 until 1990
there was numerous occasions where Tutsis were murdered. With every murder that went
unpunished the country was taking another step towards genocide. For thirty years the
majority of Tutsis population lived just outside of the Rwandan border. Another
misconception is that the Tutsis never treated the Hutu wrongly. Before the social
revolution of 1959 the Tutsis kept the Hutu population in roles of servitude. The tension
between the two ethnic groups has been high since the first attempts to colonize Rwanda
back in 1885. The fact that the genocide was carried out by Rwandans against Rwandans is
what is going to make the process of healing take longer and be much harder.


The Rwanda genocide could have been avoided, the United Nations and United States had
received early reports of the stock piling of weapons and the hatful broadcast being
played over the radio. Word of the coming terror reached the White House, the State
Department, Defense Department and the United Nations as early as 1989. But the warnings
were ignored (Hentoff 36). During the genocides of world war two the killings were taking
place in camps away from the publics view. In Rwanda the killing were taking place in
public by neighbor against neighbor. The international community had a much greater
ability to know what was taking place in Rwanda-it was broadcast around the world by CNN.
Plus the military strength of Rwanda was less then the might of Hitler’s forces (Berry 7).
Ten percent of the Hutu population took part in the killings that leaves ninety percent
that either did not or tried to help their neighbors. Hutu who were thought to have
helped Tutsis were also killed. Add deaths caused by disease and starvation the number of
people that died during four months reaches one and a half million. That comes out to one
person every ten seconds. The Nazis used gas chambers, ovens and starvation to kill six
million Jews over nine years. Hutu’s used machetes, clubs and boards with nails stuck in
them to kill eight hundred thousand people in one hundred days.

United States
It is blatantly clear that the Clinton administration did everything in its power to keep
America out of Rwanda. One factor is that eighteen United States rangers died in Somalia.
So why should Americans die in some foreign country that is going through a civil war?
The fact that the public thought what was going on in Rwanda was a civil war is because
the Clinton administration refused to call it genocide even though the administration had
documented reports stating it was. If the public knew that genocide was happening then
there would have been a greater demand for it to be stopped. Calling it a civil war made
it an internal matter for the Rwandans to handle themselves and not the United States
place to get involved.

James Woods, deputy assistant secretary at the Defense Department from 1986 to 1994, says:
“In the spring of ’93, when the Clinton administration came in, we were asked to develop
lists of what we thought would be serious crises this administration might face…I put
Rwanda on the list, but I received guidance from higher authorities: ‘If something happens
in Rwanda we don’t care. Take it off the list. United States national interest is not
involved, and you know we can’t put all these silly humanitarian interest on the
list—unlike important problems like the Middle East and North Korea” (Hentoff 32). That
statement reflects the fact that the Clinton administration did not care about Rwanda
because there was interest in the area, unlike oil in the Middle East or the threat to
America from nuclear weapons by North Korea.

It is sad that Americans lost their lives in Somalia but does that justify sitting back
and letting eight hundred thousand people die? If we stayed out of Rwanda solely because
of the American deaths in Somalia that is saying that one American life has more value
then four Europeans, ten Asians and thousands of Africans. A human life should be equally
valued because it’s a human life and not because of the race or ethnic make up of that
life! That sort of cocky attitude is exactly what gave the Americans the reputation we
have today. To the face of the cocky kid in school people smile and befriend him or her
but behind their backs lurks hatred and resentment. That hatred and resentment is what’s
making it so dangerous for our military population stationed around the world. There were
cases where American troops weren’t even needed. Belgium asked the United Nations for
more support to reinforce its own soldiers in the United Nations component there. But, as
Alan Kuperman reported in The Washington Post (December 29, 1998), “The United States
vetoed Belgium’s request” so not only was Belgium forbidden to protect its own soldiers,
but no country could help (Hentoff 28).

America constantly tried to stop any involement into Rwanda. Madeline Albright, then our
ambassador to the United Nations is solely responsible for delaying troop deployment and
troop movement that caused tens of thousands of lives. By no means did the Clinton
administration want to get involved. Did race play an issue in our inactions? It is fair
to wonder why the innocents of Kosovo are to be accorded the protection of the United
States and Western Europe, when the innocents of Rwanda were not. The horrifying genocide
took place in Africa not Europe. Should that have made a difference? Perhaps it did
(Golway 6). What was going on in Kosovo was portrayed by the media as a big bully
(Milosoviec) beating up on the small guy (Albanians). In Rwanda the media wrongly
portrayed it as a civil war implying that the African tribes cannot govern themselves and
still need American and European help.

The down playing of calling what was going on in Rwanda genocide comes from the fact that
America was planning to do nothing. During 1994 congressional elections were coming soon
and democrats would lose votes if genocide was taking place and America was doing nothing
(Hentoff 28). Votes were more important then human lives. I wonder if instead of Rwanda
it were Kosovo would that make America act and not worry about votes.

America’s inaction in Rwanda is incomprehensible. How Madeleine Albright and Bill Clinton
live with themselves? What was to gain from sitting back and doing nothing? If America
wants to be the last superpower then it should live up to the job. No matter where the
atrocities occur and who are the victims. Whether or not there is any gain in it for
America should not matter. America should step in anytime a smaller weaker party is
getting taken advantage of; it’s America’s duty as a superpower.

United Nations
The United Nations was established after the Second World War because of the holocaust.
The United Nations is basically the peacekeeping force of the world. It was made to make
sure crimes against humanity and genocide would not happen again. Its main purpose is to
stop genocide before it starts. In the case of Rwanda that is exactly what the United
Nations did not do. Before the killings started, Kofi Annan (then in charge of the United
Nations peacekeeping mission and now secretary general of the UN) was told that the Hutus
were piling up weapons and that the United Nations forces there in Rwanda could seize
those weapons. Annan refused to give the order—although many lives could have been saved
(Hentoff 34). Annan then did something even more baffling he ordered his man in Rwanda to
share the information with the President of Rwanda Juvenal Habyarimana. But the president
was the one who authorized the use of those very weapons to eliminate the Tutsis. The
United Nations sent a force of two thousand five hundred men called UNAMIR (United Nations
Assistance Mission to Rwanda). UNAMIR was sent to Rwanda under a chapter six mandate,
which meant that UNAMIR was to monitor a peacekeeping operation that was already under way
and could only use deadly force in self-defense and in the protection of United Nation
installations. A chapter seven mandate would of allowed UNAMIR to use deadly force to
establish law and order and impose peace in a particular country or conflict (Berry 142).
The only way the United Nations could order a chapter seven is through approval of the
international community, which of course, denied the mandate. The international community
then orders that the force be reduced to four hundred men.

The United Nations then placed an embargo on the Rwandan people, an embargo that did
nothing to hurt the aggressors since they were already armed. What the embargo did was to
prevent those that could collect arms and defend themselves (Berry 109). The Untied
Nations was complacent in their attempt to bring the two parties to an agreement one
reason being is that the United Nations was calling the war in Rwanda a civil war not an
open war of aggression. The United Nations also sent UNAMIR into Rwanda with more then
one mission. UNAMIR was sent in to protect mainly the capital city of Kigali and did
nothing to stop the killings in surrounding areas. Even though controlling the city of
Kigali was one of the missions of UNAMIR that was also done poorly. The plane that
President Habyarimana was in was shot down when coming in for a landing at the airport of
Kigali an airport that was supposed to be guarded by UNAMIR. No investigation was
launched to find out who perpetrated the act and UNAMIR itself is under scrutiny for
terrorist acts against civilians wrongly accused. The United Nations adopted a wait and
see attitude when the aggression towards the Tutsis started (Berry 111). Kofi Annan
indicts the usual bureaucratic suspects: lousy communications, bad information and
decision-making inertia (Wallace 34).

Rwanda was by any measures one of the worst atrocities to occur in one of the bloodiest
century ever. The genocide that occurred in Rwanda has been labeled ‘the preventable
genocide’. The United Nations and United States are not the only ones to blame for the
massacre of the Tutsis, but they were the most able to stop it. Both were informed well
in advance but the United States chose to stay out and the United Nations acted liked it
really didn’t care. The same words and apologies that were spoken after the Holocaust
again are being used, phrases like ‘never again’ and ‘we didn’t grasp the full affect of
what was happening’. These apologies and words mean nothing to the victims of the Rwandan
genocide, what is needed is time and reparations to rebuild a devastated country. The
irony of it all is that when the world was celebrating the fifty year anniversary of the
closing of the Nazis death camps the acts of genocide were happening all over again in
Rwanda.






Work Cited
Berry, John, and Carol Berry, Genocide In Rwanda
Washington D.C: Howard University Press 1999.
Golway, Terry. “Life in the 90’s.” America 4-10-99
Vol. 180, issue 12 p6-par. 1
Academic Search Elite. Online. EBSCO 10-6-00
Hentoff, Nat. “The Triumph Of Evil.” Village Voice 3-09-99
Vol. 49, issue 9 p32-par. 3 & 4
Academic Search Elite. Online. EBSCO 10-6-00
----------- “The Holocaust Without Guilt” Village Voice 3-16-99
Vol. 44, issue 10, p28-par. 3 & 4
Academic Search Elite. Online. EBSCO 10-6-00
----------- “A Holocaust We Could Have Stopped” Village Voice 3-02-99
Vol. 44, issue 8, p36-par. 2 & 3
Academic Search Elite. Online. EBSCO 10-10-00
Wallace, Bruce. “The Rwanda Debacle” Maclean’s 1-10-00
Vol. 113 issue 2, p34-par. 2 & 3
Academic Search Elite. Online. EBSCO 10-10-00







Michael Bloom
Prof. Andrews
Comp II M-W-F 11-11:50

Continues for 19 more pages >>