Here it is…
The Dynamics of the Rwandan Genocide
The focus of this book will lie on the dichotomy between the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and the government of Rwanda with a concentration on the roles of seven individuals of primary importance in the happenings during the year of 1994. These individuals, Juvénal Habyarimana, Roméo Dallaire, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, Théoneste Bagosora, Pasteur Bizimungu, Paul Kagame, and Théodore Sindikubwabo represent the stratification found in the political dynamics of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, one in which is blamed for the massacre of approximately eight-hundred thousand to one million Tutsi and moderate Hutus in Rwanda. Using the central event of the Rwandan Civil War, later named the Rwandan Genocide, the book will determine the impact of both sides of the conflict and their relative levels of accountability, as well as analyzing the external accountability of the United Nations as represented in the correspondence between Romeo Dallaire and New York in 1994. The other individuals, who were all born and active within the region of Rwandan, Burundi, and Uganda, will be analyzed biographically and applied to the broader socio-political dynamics of the event in order to determine the relationship between all figures in the study. However, the book will attempt to stay away from a greater focus on the UN or media blame in the conflict, as this has been both written about in length and is not pertinent to a collective biography on the individuals themselves, besides in analyzing the role of UN official Romeo Dallaire.
Though this event in Rwanda’s history has been written about in great volume, the reality is that the event is still young in its impact on history. As such, a proposography encompassing these seven figures, among them colonels, generals, presidents, and a UN Peacekeeper, is a new take on a topic that has major implications on super power foreign policy, as well as the role of the United Nations in war-torn nations. Moreover, figures within the conflict and their relative blame in the progression of the conflict are extremely ambiguous, due primarily to time constrictions, lack of formal accounts during the conflict, and a general difficulty in explaining the onset of the genocide and political dynamics during the period. Therefore, any piece of work, disregarding a broader look on foreign policy (a topic of great volume recently), offers a unique look at the conflict that took place in the summer of 1994. The ability to analyze the conflict through the seven figures, coupled with the newness of the topic, allows the book to carry significant implications historiographically and methodologically, with the heuristic device of proposography at the forefront of the study. Among the comparisons that may be drawn from the seven figures, biographically, the book will attempt to explain why Hutu and Tutsi resentment catapulted to a level of mass atrocity through conclusions made about each figures life and socioeconomic background. Disregarding several of the more scientific differences associated with the ambiguous difference between the two ethnic groups, the book will offer several examples of how different or similar the seven figures are, despite their ethnic background, explaining the relative absurdity of the distinction.
The differences between the two ethnic groups of Rwanda, Tutsi and Hutu, can be seen as a symbol of the ambiguity of a motive for the development of the Rwandan genocide. There are seemingly little differences; between Hutus and Tutsis, the main difference is a socio-economic classification that derives from the colonial period by Germany and Belgium in Rwanda’s history. Through this colonization, native Rwandans were given names to distinguish who owned a fair amount of capital and who did not: the Tutsis became the ‘upper-class,’ while the Hutus were labeled as the ‘lower-class.’
In the spring of 1994, Rwanda became a country of mass ethnic cleansing and political failures by both internal and external powers. The RPF and Government forces became locked in a battle that was sparked by the killings of Juvénal Habyarimana and the Burundian President while their plane landed in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. The Arusha Accords of 1993, which had effectively ended the civil war between RPF and the Government, were revoked once this happened. Many have noted the lack of faith Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana placed in the Accords, stating their relative insignificance in his political agenda. The breakdown of the Accords sparked the Rwandan Genocide, thus the Arusha Accords failed to quell animosity between the government forces and the RPF. Among this general contextual frame, one sees the inherent problems in explaining the multilayered conflict: rival factions, splinter revolutionary fronts, governmental corruption and dishonesty, all exacerbate the problems in describing the conflict. Through looking at the lives of the seven individuals, one sees differences and similarities that can help clear up these problems, as all of the characters had a significant role in the conflict, either positively or negatively.
1. Juvénal Habyarimana was the third president of Rwanda, from 5 July 1973 to 6 April 1994, when his plane was shot down landing at Kigali Airport, accompanied by the Burundian President. The blame for who killed Habyarimana remains unclear, however, it is strongly suggested that the assassination was carried out by a radical revolutionary group, not necessarily the Rwandan Patriotic Front. Habyarimana took power in Rwanda through a coup against the then ruling Parmehutu party. His major political accomplishments were associated with the Arusha Accords and attempting to quell the Rwandan Civil War in which a large Diaspora population of Tutsis living in Uganda under the banner Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) attempted to overthrow
2. Paul Kagame is the current president of Rwanda and was the leader of the RPF from 1990 onwards, after Fred Rwigyema’s death in a RPF invasion of Uganda. Returning from the United States after military training there, Kagame came to dominate the political realm in which he exercised within, leading to his eventual presidency in 2000. However, Paul Kagame has, since the assassination of Juvénal Habyarimana, been under a barrage of court indictments and subpoenas from the French and the United Nations in his role in the Genocide. He was also part of Pasteur Bizimungu’s cabinet, preceding his own rule, where he was central in the Second Congo War.
3. Roméo Dallaire, currently a Canadian politician, was born in The Netherlands on 25 June 1946. He became the Force Commander of UNAMIR (United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda) from 1993-1994, responsible for assessing the situation of Rwanda’s Civil War and relaying that assessment back to the United Nations. He made several pleas to the United Nations chief leaders (Kofi Annan in particular) to take a more active role in finding and seizing weapons caches of the Rwandan Patriotic Front. He eventually became a Canadian politician and wrote a book on his role in the conflict, entitled Shake Hands with the Devil.
4. Pasteur Bizimungu was a leader of the RPF during the Rwandan Genocide and worked closely with Paul Kagame, the current president of Rwanda. Pasteur himself became president of Rwanda after the “successful” coup by the RPF in 1994. During the Civil War, Bizimungu joined the RPF due in part to the assassination of his brother, Augustin Bizimungu, in 1990. Though a Hutu, Pasteur found his way to the upper echelon of RPF fighters by the summer of 1994, which provided him the opportunity to be named president of Rwanda on 19 July 1994. Paul Kagame would later succeed, as both he and Pasteur were close RPF members. The two have been under a tremendous hail of people seeking repercussions for the members of the genocide, however, Pasteur was imprisoned for the past several years on charges of dissent and creating a militia for revolution, something he was pardoned for by Kagame on 6 April 2007.
5. Théodore Sindikubwabo was the interim president after the death of President Juvénal Habyarimana, from 9 April 1994 to 19 July 1994. He is a figure of much ambiguity and discussion in that he has been given the blame for the assassination of President Habyarimana by some. Moreover, he has been quoted; alluding to the killing of Tutsi people during the Civil War as what the country should be doing, carrying out systematic and universal persecution of Tutsis. He fled to Zaire after the coup d’état carried out by the RPF, dying in the late-1990s.
6. Agathe Uwilingiyimana, one of the leading female figures in Rwanda’s history, was born in 1953. She excelled at math and science, disciplines she would teach into her thirties at the National University of Rwanda. In 1989, she got involved with politics officially, taking a position in the Ministry of Commerce, moving on to become the Education Minister in 1992. On 17 July 1993, she became the first female prime minister of Rwanda, though she would be dismissed by Habyarimana shortly afterwards. She was assassinated in the early part of the revolution in 1994 following the president’s death. Her short life and political activity do her little justice; she created a profound legacy following her death and is still revered within Rwanda today as symbol and martyr.
7. Théoneste Bagosora, a Hutu, may be seen as one of the leading negative figures in the history of the Rwandan Genocide. He was born on 16 August 1941, in Rwanda, and went through military training, establishing himself in the Ministry of Defense in Rwanda by 1992. By the time of the assassination of Habyarimana, Bagosora was an outspoken anti-Tutsi person, alluding to the need to eradicate the Tutsi “problem.” At the moment, Bagosora has been charged by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, associated with laws of genocide and war crimes. Presently, Bagosora is awaiting a sentencing from the tribunal, expected sometime this year.
The first step will be working on gathering personal information on the six figures involved in the study, a process that will take the majority of the work associated with the book. Travelling to the newly discovered archives in Kigali, and looking at archives in London and Paris associated with the conflict; biographical information will trickle out through the various resources. The result will entail a more concise look at the major figures; however, there should be enough information to write in depth about some of the less-central figures found in the book. With the work done on the seven people, context will be of primary significance, placing the six in relation to one another. Moreover, context in an event such as the Rwandan Genocide is extremely complex due to the difficult political and military dynamics during a relatively short period of time.
In the end, the book will be approximately 300 pages in length, completed by early December of 2010. The first process, the gathering of biographical information, should take approximately 2 years to complete. The remaining time will be invested in filling contextual gaps that remain from the work in the first 2 years. The final several months will devoted to the composition of the paper, as well as making the connections between the seven people in the broader conflict. Much of the research will require travel to Kigali, Paris, and London, in order to talk with important figures in the development of the historical analysis of the topic as well as view the newly discovered records of pre-genocide Rwanda kept by the RPF. The newly acquired records have not been sorted through yet; however, steps are being taken to speed the process of recording and transferring to a digital record all of the new sources. At this point, the only way to access these records is to travel to Kigali and analyze the various records first-hand.
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