European Imperialism Legacy in Rwanda

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EUROPEAN IMPERIALISM LEGACY IN RWANDA

In We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families, author Philip Gourevitch writes, “Whatever Hutu and Tutsi identity may have stood for in the pre-colonial state no longer mattered; the Belgians had made “ethnicity” the defining feature of Rwandan existence”. In his book, he analyzes the background and causes of the Rwandan genocide in 1994 through interviews with survivors or descendants, and through his own trips to the country. The horrible tragedy of 1994 was a result the Hutus getting retaliation on the Tutsi tribe, but these two tribes were not always seen as two separate races. After the Belgium Empire gained control of Rwanda, it was through their regime that Hutus and Tutsis were manipulated to plot against each other, and that one was more superior to the other. By examining the pre-colonial history of Rwanda, Belgium control leading up to the country’s independence, and the genocide of the Tutsis by the Hutus, we can legitimately connect the legacy of European imperialism to the genocide of 1994, and see how much of an impact imperialism has had on the country. The pre-colonial era in Rwanda is important to consider when determining how much of an impact imperialism did have on the country. Before Belgium took control over Rwanda, the country was inhabited by “cave-dwelling pygmies whose descendants today are called the Twa people, a marginalized and disenfranchised group”. The Hutus and Tutsi tribes came into the picture in later centuries, while reports say that the Hutus may have settled first. While the exact relationship of the Twa, Hutu, and Tutsi tribes is somewhat unknown, it is believed that that the relationship was one of mutual benefit, and each tribe’s skills and trades were exchanged. The Hutu and Tutsi tribes did not always have a turbulent relationship with one…...

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