Tearing Rwanda apart : an examination of theories of inter-ethnic conflict and genocide / by Cynthia Jane Benjamin.
This thesis is an examination of the theories of inter-ethnic conflict and their relevance to the genocide in Rwanda, in 1994. Although monocausal theories such as ‘culture’, ‘tribalism’ or ‘genetics’ are commonly proposed by Western media (and some academics) as the ‘cause’ of inter-ethnic violence, this exploration rejects these approaches in favour of multi-factor analyses. A Foucauldian framework is employed—specifically, the interrelation of power/knowledge and the use of discourse in promoting certain ‘truths’ —to argue that the genocide arose from the (intended and unintended) consequences of the intersection of several events and practices. The introduction of an ethnic hierarchy by colonialists, the environmental and economic crises of the mid-1980s, the repatriation of Abatutsi refugees, internal and international pressure for democratization, resulted in a population that was angry, frustrated and scared Abahutu supremacists seized this opportunity to forward their agenda to rid Rwanda of the Abatutsi minority, by constructing them as the cause of Rwanda's difficulties, pumping out hate-literature and radio broadcasts calling for their extermination. The contradictory responses by the international community to the growing crisis in the 1990s lent tacit assent to the machinations of the genocide, where up to 800,000 Abatutsi and 30,000 moderate Abahutu were systematically slaughtered in 100 days. This thesis proposes that genocide prevention begins with an awareness of the micro-movements of power, as small-scale violence and discourses of hatred can, under the right circumstances, erupt into a larger tragedy.
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