World Cultures The Legacy of Imperialism; Conflicts in Africa rwanda directions

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World Cultures

The Legacy of Imperialism; Conflicts in Africa


  1. Read through the following information.

  2. Answer the review questions (or highlight them in your reading).

  3. Read over the timeline of the events that occurred during the Rwandan genocide of 1994 to get a brief overview.

  4. Watch the first ½ hour of the Ghosts of Rwanda video begin answering the corresponding viewing guide.

    • If we have a 2 hr delay tomorrow… you should watch another 30 minutes before coming to school!

    • If we have a school cancellation… you should watch the remainder of the video and complete the video guide!

  5. BOTH of these will serve as your notes on this conflict!


Prior to imperialism, most of what is now Rwanda was a monarchy ruled by a king of the Nyiginya dynasty. Social stratification was based a person’s work. Hutus tended to be farmers, the Tutsis were stockbreeders and the Twa were hunters or potters. When colonial powers entered they focused on the perceived ethnic differences between the groups and this brought about a hierarchy of power. This included an identification system that favored the Tutsi. This created a concept of superiority that linked directly to post colonial problems.



Ethnic background:

Related to Bantu tribes. Dark skin and stocky build.

Historical background:

Farmers who lived in area for about 2000 years.

Colonial powers relegated them to lower status.

1950s: Belgium switches and supports Hutus

Independence: Hutus gain power and many Tutsis flee to Zaire and Uganda. Those Tutsis who remain are targeted with violence. Hutus reversed the colonial concepts of the ethnic right to power and claim that they are the rightful inhabitants of the land.

1973-1994: Juvenal Habyarimana (Hutu) ruled as president of Rwanda. Followed a policy of discrimination against Tutsi.

1990: when Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) wins a battle, Tutsi civilians were massacred.

1994: Habyarimana was a passenger in a plane that was shot down. Hutu extremists who were concerned that the Arushu Peace Accords were to be implemented were believed to be behind the attack.

Ethnic background:

Tied to Cushite people, The name Hima is also associated with Tutsi. Can be very tall – often 7 ft, thinner, have lighter skin. Some have sharper noses.

Historical background:

Entered the area about 500 years ago as cattle herders. Come from a warrior background.

Colonial powers gave them higher status – claiming they were closer racially and intellectually to Europeans.

1959: Due to power shifting to the Hutus, Tutsis resorted to violence to retain power

Late 1950s – 1973: pogroms were carried out against Tutsi civilians. Tutsis were considered foreigners.

1973-1990: Tutsis discriminated against

1989: Formed the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF). Many fought for Uganda in its civil war but did not have Ugandan citizenship.

1990: RPF invades Rwanda – Rwandan army is inept.

1990: 10,000 Tutsi jailed without charge. Freed due to international pressure.

1992: OAU (Organization of African Unity) mediates, Tutsi refugees return from Uganda, power is split up – RPF given a disproportionate number of seats, military: 60% Hutu 40% Tutsi, 50% split for officers.

  • Realities: Mixed marriages existed and the two groups did have public and political discourse. There were two camps – one for unity and one who focused on ethnic differences.

  • April 6, 1994: The presidents of the African states of Rwanda and Burundi have been killed in a plane crash near the Rwandan capital, Kigali. Both presidents were Hutu. Hutu extremists were believed to be behind the attack. The killings began that night.

  • UN peacekeeping forces stand by while slaughter goes on.

  • By June of 1994 the Rwandan military - helped by Hutu civilians - had massacred at least 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.




April 6, 1994

Hutu extremists are believed to be behind the attack on a plane shot down. On board were the President of Rwanda and the President of Burundi. Both Hutu

April 6, 1994

Killing begins. The Rwandan Armed Forces and the Hutu militia go door to door killing Tutsis and moderate Hutu politicians.

April 7, 1994

10 Belgian soldiers guarding the Hutu Prime Minister and tricked into giving up their weapons, tortured and killed. President Clinton releases a statement that he is “shocked” and “saddened,” by what is going on in Rwanda

April 8, 1994

The Tutsi Rwandese Patriotic Front launches an offensive to stop the killing and to rescue 600.

April 9-10

French, Belguim, and American citizens are airlifted out.

April 11

UN soldiers are ordered to withdraw to the airport

April 21, 1994

UN votes to reduce troops from 2,500 – 270.

April 30, 1994

UN condemns the killing but omits the word “genocide.” If genocide had been used the UN would have been legally obliged to “prevent and punish the perpetrators.” “Tens of thousands of refugees flee into Tanzania, Burundi and Zaire. In one day, 250,000 Rwandans, mainly Hutus fleeing the advance of the Tutsi RPF, cross the border into Tanzania.”

May 11, 1994

During a U.S. State Department briefing the U.S. will still not use the term genocide when speaking of Rwanda.

May 17, 1994

UN states “acts of genocide may have been committed.” Yet deployment of troops is delayed due to arguments over who would pay the bill.

Mid May 1994

The Red Cross estimates 500,000 had been killed.

May 25, 1994 / June 10, 1994

U.S. will still not use the terminology “genocide.”

June 22, 1994

UN security council authorizes the deployment of French troops to southwestern Rwanda.

Mid July 1994

French troops end their mission and are replaced by Ethiopian troops. Tutsi RPF captures Kigala and the Hutu government and other flee to Zaire. The genocide is over. An estimated 800,000 were killed in 100 days.


President Clinton apologizes to the victims of the genocide; Kofi Annan apologizes to the Rwandan Parliament. The French commission reports that most of the blame goes to the international community for not stepping in.


Human Rights Watch releases a report titled, "Leave None to Tell the Story." It includes criticism towards the U.N., the U.S., France and Belgium for knowing about the preparations for the slaughter and not taking action to prevent the killings.

Information from PBS

Historical Background Info

Review Questions

  1. Describe the physical differences between the Hutus and Tutsis.

  1. Why might there have been conflict between the two groups before the Europeans arrived on the scene?

  1. How did Social Darwinism play a role in the conflict?

  1. What role did the Europeans (Belgians)play in intensifying the conflict between the two groups.


Ghosts of Rwanda

  • Ghosts of Rwanda was a documentary made by PBS. You can find more information a the PBS website:

  • You should use the video available on YouTube. Search the title or use the following link,

  • You will find a viewing guide for the movie on the following pages.

Ghosts of Rwanda: Viewing Guide


1. Why was the failure of Rwanda ten times greater than Yugoslavia?

2. Why does the West still question how they could have intervened?
3. Who is Philippe Gaillard? What does he say is a responsibility for people to do? Why?
4. Outside of Rwanda when has “never again” been used? Will we continue to use it?

The Warning:

5. What warning was given to the UN?

6. What did the Hutus expect the Belgians to do?
7. What did Annan tell Dallaire to do? How does Annan defend this?
8. What was Dallaire not to do? What was the philosophy?
9. How did Mogadishu, Somalia, change everything?
10. Why were the Hutus so confident with regard to the UN? What were their weapons?
11. April 6, 1994 the President’s plane was shot down. How did it happen, and who was responsible?
12. Colonel Bagosora was the chief de cabinet of the minister of national defense; what did he claim he wanted to launch?

9. What was the UN response at this point to Dallaire?

In the Face of Evil

13. What was the concern with regard to making the information public?

14. What was given to the Red Cross by the Rwandan government?

15. How many lives did the Red Cross save?
16. What did Bagosora say about his ability to recruit?
17. What was the estimated death count after the first two weeks?
18. What was the U.S. asked for? Was the U.S. ready / willing to take this action?
19. What was the explanation?
20. What action did the UN take?
21. What was said about “the world?”
22. How many troops were left in Rwanda and where were they from?
23. What was the difference between the support from their agencies for the Red Cross and the UN?
Heroes and Bystanders:

24. How does each murder lessen the impact of murder?

  1. What did the U.S. never come to grips with in regard to Rwanda?

  1. Why couldn’t Prudence Bushnell truly help Rwanda?

  1. What did General Paul Kagame say to Bushnell? How did Bushnell end her conversations with him?

  1. UN/Senegalese Captain Mbaye Diagne ignored neutrality. How did his mere presence help?

  1. What did General Dallaire want to do to help save lives? Why couldn’t he do it?

  1. Why didn’t the UN Security Council send troops?

  1. How did the Tutsi look at the UN (from the Security Council’s perspective?)

  1. Why did Dallaire want to meet with the death squad commanders?

  1. How does he describe these commanders? He felt like he was negotiating with whom?

  1. What did it mean for a safe haven to be under UN guard? (How many were stationed there?)

35. TV /radio reported on Rwanda. What number was given for when some “stopped counting?”

36. How did the US/UN make sure they did not have to become involved? What term did they not use?
37. May 17th the UN changed course and authorized what? What was the problem with that?


38. How many days was the genocide? How did it end? How many died?

39. Why was Carl Wilkens so angry with America?
40. What does Madeline Albright say about going to Rwanda? What did she wish she had done?
41. What does Kofi Annan say about the world being ready for another Rwanda?
42. What does President Clinton say with regard to Rwanda?
43. May 2003 Press Conference. What does President Clinton say with regard to why the U.S. did not intervene?
44. What does Dallaire say about living with this?
45. What does Dallaire say about his mission? How is that different from what Philippe Gallard says?

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