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Behind the Rwandan Genocide

            Since the middle of the 1900's in Rwanda, there has been tension between the two main ethnic groups of the region; the Hutu's and the Tutsi's. The Rwandan Genocide officially began on April 7th, 1994 and lasted approximately one hundred days; however, acts of murder have been occurring since the power shift from a Tutsi lead government, to a Hutu lead government, in the 1950's. This genocide is one of the most well know and publicized genocides, only second to the Nazi's in World War II. This genocide has become a model for the United Nations on how to work to prevent another act of genocide, such as this one, in the future.
             Leading up to a genocide, there are many historical factors regarding the tension in a country, their economic situation, and their political state. For centuries, Tutsi's have held the political power in Rwanda, but in the rebellion of 1959 to 1962, that changed forever when the Hutu's gained power. The Hutu's have been able to hold their power since then, but since then, there has been a struggle between the nation's two groups, for that power. Before the genocide, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, or RPF for short, invaded Northern Rwanda, from Uganda. The RPF consists mostly of Tutsi refugees who now reside in Uganda. This invasion is what sparked the Rwandan Civil War, in 1990. During the civil war, the Interahamwe and the Impuzamugambi militia controlled the streets of Rwandan towns and cities. During this time, the militia were able to plan the genocide and all they needed was a trigger. That trigger, for the genocide, came on the night of April 6th 1994, when President Habyarimana's plane was gunned down.
             As first outlined by Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, in 1996, there are eight stages to a genocide, and The Rwandan Genocide follows the eight stages exactly. First, in Rwanda, there have always been bipolar societies; the Hutu's and the Tutsi's. In a bipolar society, like this one, there is no way for collective ideologies to mix through intermarriage.

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