An African life seems to have much less value than any other.
Popular press has portrayed the Rwandan Genocide as a tribal war between ethnic groups. Scholarly research has rejected this view, (Des Forges; 1999, Uvin; 1998, Prunier; 1995).
Krain (1997) found that ethnic fractionalisation is uncorrelated with the onset of genocide or political mass murder.
It is known now that there a few vital factors that heavily influence the chance of genocide in conflict ridden countries;
Presence of mineral wealth
Three months before the genocide
In January 1994, Human Rights Watch presented evidence that the Rwandan Government were buying up masses of small arms. These arms were paid for partly in cash, and partly with the future harvest of the Mulindi tea plantation. The arms were distributed amongst the Rwandan public as part of a so called civil self defence programme. A said before, guns, grenades and ammunition started to flood the country months before the massacre kicked off. Belgium even shipped in thousands of machete’s hidden between sheets.
Tutsi’s were told to go to churches, sports stadiums and schools, and this is where the firearms were put to maximum effect. Efficiency in killing was important here because firearms were in limited supply. When the bullets ran out, three weeks into the mass shootings, the machete’s came into play. Ordinary Rwandans do not own weapons. Nor were they in the habit of murdering their neighbours, this was a pre-planned massacre, with money as a massive motive.
Rwanda had an abundance of farmers who had a range of tools. Hoe’s, Hacks, Machete’s, Clubs and axes were all used in the killings.
Hutu’s married to Tutsi’s, and children born of, were also targeted, these statistics are not taken into consideration when the complete body count was released.
Rape was used as a weapon during the genocide, and the purposeful transference of AIDS lead to thousands of women dying after the genocide had ended. These are not recorded by official statistics as geonocide related deaths.
83% of the Tutsi population was wiped out during the massacre.
Over 4000 Rwandans had been recorded to be buried alive
Over 1000 Rwandans were burned alive
120 Rwandans were killed using tractors
Nearly 10,000 Rwandans were drowned
Over 80,000 children were killed during the massacre
Those who would potentially put up resistance were killed using firearms (young people, men especially).
The statistics are horrifying.
An example of the devastating effect small arms had during the genocide; Human Rights Watch reported that in one case, 2,800 people gathered in a church and were slaughtered by militiamen using automatic rifles, machine guns and grenades. As people fled, it took the militia 4 hours to kill them all. Governments that supplied weapons bear a lot of responsibility for the needless civilian deaths. French Ambassador, Jean-Michel Marlaud stated this after the genocide;
“There are violations by the Rwandan Army, more because of a lack of control by the government, rather than the will of the government. Hutu leaders got the message that they could get away with genocide facilitated by foreign arms.”
Perhaps if more had been known about the flow of light weapons and small arms into Rwanda, if the international community had an interest in stopping the arms influx, the outcome would have been different. Yet to this day France, South Africa, Egypt, and Uganda have not fully disclosed the nature and extent of their military assistance and arms transfers.
For Rwanda, international scrutiny came too late. In the future, human rights organisations may continue to disagree with governments about the impact of the transfer of light weapons and small arms. But a democratic debate over whether such transfers conflict with human rights requires knowledge of the transfers themselves. This is something that any democratic republic, including France and the new South Africa, should understand.
The world focuses on weapons of mass destruction, and international bodies go to extreme lengths to ensure ‘unstable’ nations of the world curb the production of such callous weaponry. The small arms trade is allowed to flow too easy, and up until this day has had a vicious impact on millions of lives. Especially those in the third world. There is not much information on this lucrative trade and even though there have been treaties put in place, we can see the effects of these weapons in places like Syria, Nigeria and the Central African Republic.
We will continue to see unnecessary death on a large scale if ‘guns’ are not taken more seriously. People seem to be so afraid of the world around them that some people believe it is necessary for them to own weapons.
America is a prime example of this as there are reportedly 270 million guns floating around the country. Many gun owners are law abiding citizens & would only use their weapon out of self defence. Many Americans use guns for other, more malicious purposes. The world has not learned much from what happened in Rwanda 20 years ago, and it makes me sick to my stomach to think about what role small arms has to play in the world we’re shaping around us. History will continue to repeat itself unless mankind takes on a huge conscious shift in its attitude to making money off selling guns. Its a shame, we’ve taken so many steps forward in technology, but so many steps back in everything else.
The Rwandan people embarked upon three months of hell whilst the international community turned a blind eye. Nato and the United nations watched as people were shot, stabbed, blow up, buried alive drowned and beaten. Children and old people were chopped up using machete’s because the bullets had been used on the men. People who gathered in churches were gunned down and finished off with axes. Rape was used as weapon against women to push the purposeful transference of AIDS. South Africa, Russia, Belgium, Egypt and France were just some of the countries who have blood on their hands, and on the cash in their banks
The US and the UK just spectated.
The genocide happened in 1994.
Before this, America had intervened in countries for political reasons, economic reasons and to save the opressed. They have killed the leaders of terrorist organisations who they’ve hunted for years. They’ve spent billions on their ‘international’ peace keeping crusade, but this, they turn a blind eye too. At the time of the Rwandan genocide, American arms dealers too were raking in millions off the sale of weapons to Rwandan psycopaths.
Everybody should be ashamed.