Take the 2-minute tour ×
History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I read an assertion that as high as over 70% of Rwanda's Tutsis were killed in the Rwanda genocide. Yet immediately after the genocide the anti-government Tutsi rebel group NPF successfully defeated the government and seized the power. In the aftermath many Hutus fled the country. Even more, the new Tutsi-led government succeeded to defeat DR Kongo in a bloody war.

I wonder if there was such great hatred between Hutus and Tutsis with Tutsis being a minority and 70% of this minority exterminated, how they could win the civil war and secure the power?

How this new government could be be successful to secure loyalty of the army so to defeat Kongo in the aftermath?

Why the Hutus who were the majority in the country fled it in the aftermath of the Tutsi takeover?

It seems that the Hutu government was defeated in immediate consequence of the genocide. How killing the Tutsi could harm the Hutu effort to win the civil war?

share|improve this question
3  
Tutsi and Hutu tribes are not bound inside one country. –  Sardathrion Nov 23 '12 at 7:55
10  
70% is consistent with the figures of the Rwandan government, but please next time give us a clue where you've read what. "I read an assertion" is extremely vague. –  Yannis Rizos Nov 23 '12 at 12:11
1  
I believe @Sardathrion is correct; the forces that overthrew the Hutus in Rwanda were the Tutsi diapora in neighbouring regions, who were galvanised to war by the genocide. –  Semaphore Nov 18 at 3:01

2 Answers 2

The Rwandan Patriotic Front (tutsi rebels) forces just won a shooting war that was quite distinct to the genocide. They'd fought with the Hutu authorities to a standstill in 1993 and fully possessed the capability (nothing to do with the civilians under hutu rule) to restart the conflict in response to the events of 1994.

If anything the genocide helped the RWF as it allowed them to take advantage of deteriorating social order in the government held parts of the country.

I found the wikipedia articles on the genocide and the rwf really helpful.

share|improve this answer

In the Rwandan wars equipment and ammunition was a bigger factor than population. The Hutus are the more rural and less educated populance of the country, so they were always the oppressed ones. European powers gave weapons and technology to the Tutsi. In general, it is easier to support a smaller, more sophisticated group, than a larger, dumber group.

The massacres occurred in 1994 when various geopolitical factors led to supply of the Hutus. You will read stories of how the French gave weapons to the Hutus, but most of these stories are just nonsense. The real culprit was China, who supplied the Hutus with like 1 million machetes plus food and other equipment, supposedly for agricultural purposes. The Hutus found a much better use for the machetes: chopping up Tutsis. The scale of the massacre has been significantly exaggerated in the Western press (you are dealing in GLOBAL GEOPOLITICS, remember).

Motives here are complex--remember you are dealing in global geopolitics, a complicated subject. But the simplistic way to look at it is that the Tutsis were the clients of rich European capitalists and the Hutus were supported by the Communist Chinese who had no love for mineral seeking Belgium mining companies.

To squash the rebellion, all the Europeans had to do was send a few tonnes of automatic weapons and ammunition to the Tutsis. 50-caliber machine guns are more effective weapons than machetes.

The bottom line is that the Chinese and Indians both are making a LOT more money in Rwanda now than they were in 1990. Also, a critical factor is access to the Congo. China has a lot of interests in the Congo, but to get the goods out of the Congo, it has to go through Rwanda. Once again, the issues here are really complicated. Just reading some nutty statistic like "70% of the Tutsis were killed" in Time magazine (which is just completely false), will not give you the info you need to understand what is going on there.

How can I know, you might ask? Answer: start by identifying every major mine in Congo and Rwanda, and then find out where the production of those mines is going. Once you have a DETAILED itemization of those interests, you will start to not only understand WHY things happened in the past, you will be to predict whats going to happen in the future.

share|improve this answer
    
Interesting! But u say the West should give weapons to Tutsies to stop the genocide. But had not they have the weapons already especially given the army was pro-Tutsi? Also on which side was the government? I thought it were Tutsi who rebelled but u are speaking about Hutu rebels... –  Anixx Nov 18 at 0:14
    
The government of Rwandan has always been Tutsi dominated. They are the educated classes. Even when Kayibanda was head of state, most key posts were occupied by Tutsi's. The Hutus were just the nominal "elective" leaders voted into power by the Hutu majority. The reality is (and was) that Rwanda has ALWAYS been operated by the Tutsi's because they do everything. They run every shop, they run all the schools, they are the mechanics, the lawyers, the businessmen. They run the entire country. The Hutus are just farmers, and even then many are just sharecroppers on Tutsi farms. –  Tyler Durden Nov 18 at 1:04
2  
How then it came that the army did not prevent genocide and why there were tutsi opposition rebels? –  Anixx Nov 18 at 2:39
    
@Anixx You got me. Obviously the Tutsi's were underarmed in 1994. The so-called Tutsi "rebels" were a small group of Tutsi soldiers from Burundi who were part of an effort to stage a coup when the Hutus started to take action against them. They murdered the Hutu PM and thought they could just cakewalk over the Hutus--obviously a miscalculation. However, they of course won in the end. Just look at the situation now: Tutsi PM, Tutsi's control everything, army, school, government, everything. The 1994 uprising was just that: an uprising that failed. –  Tyler Durden Nov 18 at 3:06

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.