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ekans's avatar

Who is responsible for the Rwandan Genocide?

Asked by ekans (1529points) September 7th, 2009

A friend and I were having a friendly debate the other day about who was responsible for the Rwandan Genocide. We both agree that no one group can be blamed for the genocide, but we primarily put the blame on two different groups. My position was that the Genocide was primarily the fault of the Belgian colonizers, who divided and angered a previously fluid and docile society. My friend said that it was the fault of the Rwandans, as they were the ones who decided to kill each other, rather than do something peaceful, similar to what South Africa did after apartheid.
Eventually, we agreed to disagree after we realized that we were just repeating our positions to each other in slightly different ways.

I was wondering what Fluther thought; should we hold the Belgians responsible, or should we hold the Rwandans themselves responsible for not working out their differences peacefully in a manner that other countries have done in a similar situation?

Finally, I would like to say that no one group is to blame for this, and casting blame now is useless. It is not important who is to blame, what is important is that the genocide happened, and that fact cannot be averted. I just want to know what other jellies think on this debate.

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11 Answers

atlantis's avatar

You’re right.. Many are responsible

1) The UN: for ignoring a report that hostilities can get out of control and not sending enough peace-keepers when they were desperately needed
2) The Western powers: turning a blind eye, some sources even claim that they did so to sell arms
3) The post-colonial world order: There is no value, or should I say price, attached to the poor nation-state today.
4) The rest of Africa for being dispersed into rival factions and ethnic groups and being played on by the West for their abundant natural resources.

oratio's avatar

There must be a point in time, where Africans have to stop blaming the colonial era, and be held accountable for their own actions. When does it stop being someone else’s fault what your are doing? It’s been 50 years ago since they became a sovereign country.

Yes, the German and Belgian powers are underlying causes for social problems in Rwanda. But they are not responsible for genocide. Is Britain responsible for the US? The American deficit? There are reasons a country has leadership, and it’s because they are supposed to be responsible for their decisions, and not somebody else.

It is very popular in Africa to blame the colonial powers for everything from AIDS to wars and starvation. It’s easy and it’s always somebody else’s fault. Especially people like Mugabe likes to do that. Zimbabwe’s problems is “of course” not his fault.

Europe is to blame for many things in history, but Africa’s future belongs to the Africans. Their mistakes and successes, are in the end theirs.

drdoombot's avatar

Ultimately, choice lies with the individual. No matter what the circumstances are, a person decides whether they are going to go against the laws of decency and humanity.

Belgian colonizers or not, the Hutus that decided to pick up their machetes are the ones who are responsible for the genocide of the Tutsis.

augustlan's avatar

I know next to nothing about the specifics of this genocide, but I’ll try to answer in a general way. In the end, we are all responsible for our own decisions. Whoever threw the first stone, fired the first gun,* etc. is the first one responsible. And everyone who did the same afterward, continues to be responsible.

I look at it this way: childhood abuse can be an underlying cause of adult criminal behavior. It can explain it, but does not excuse it. The adult criminal is still solely responsible for his actions. Here, too, there may be many underlying causes in this situation, but none are responsible for the actual genocide. Each individual is.

Edit: * Or, apparently, picked up the first machete.

quarkquarkquark's avatar

It’s the fault of every Hutu or Tutsi who picked up a machete or a rifle and killed another human being, and it’s their fault alone.

mammal's avatar

yeah yeah you don’t get away with it that easily, pinning all responsibility on the individual, so that we can all sleep easy at night…whatever differences the Hutu’s and the Tutsis had in the past was certainly exacerbated and encouraged by their colonial masters, rest assured if there was anything in it for the US government they would have quite happily armed one side with more than machetes i can promise you that. Be thankful the murderers were poorly armed.

quarkquarkquark's avatar

Does that make Churchill and Roosevelt responsible for the Holocaust?

KAMANZI's avatar

Kagame is responsible for the Rwandan genocide for having lied to the world that Rwanda was oppressing his tutsi people even after the minority Tutsis being given 40% of all power in Rwanda they were not satisfied because they wanted to hold on their old ideology that Hutus are born to serve Tutsis. This held Kagame and other tutsis hostages and forgot that any invasion of Rwanda would revive old memories of torture and oppression inflicted on hutus for over 400 years by a tutsi monarchy. Kagame went ahead and killed two hutu presidents who were from peace negotiations in Tanzania Kagame’s western proxies told him to go ahead since they knew that killing both hutu presidents meant retaliation thus justifying his international support

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hansen32's avatar

this genocide like all others was the result of political leaders. Through propaganda and already preconceived notions the Hutu were convened that the Tutsi were raising to power and were going to enslave/destroy them all. The people that carried out this genocide did it because in their mind they were doing the right thing.
if we are to ever completely stop genocides like this, the international community needs to make all political leaders aware that if they make the decision to try and eradicate a group of people, they will be destroyed. the international community needs to make the cost out way the benefits.

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