The Influence Of Belgian Imperialism On Rwanda

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European colonization of Rwanda has had detrimental effects that are clearly visible long after Rwanda’s independence in 1962. Belgian influence instilled racist ideology into the minds of Tutsi’s, assured all political power would belong to Tutsi’s, and classified ethnic boundaries. All of these Belgian influences are explored in Boubacar Boris Diop’s book Murambi: The Book of Bones. Diop explores the atrocities committed in Rwanda and makes reference to European influence that eventually sparked a massive genocide in 1994. Belgian influence on the inhabitants of Rwanda can be directly associated with the Rwandan genocide that took place in 1994. However, although the colonization of Rwanda did have a drastic effect on the Rwandan inhabitants,…show more content…
Belgians turned the Tutsi-Hutu relationship into a class system and gave Tutsi privileges and western education. Belgians limited the number of political positions and restricted those positions to those with higher education, which essentially assured political power went to the minority Tutsi. Political office was completely controlled by the minority Tutsi (14%) over the majority Hutu (85%). The tyrannical means by which the Tutsi ruled Rwanda can be clearly seen in the Hutu Manifesto of 1957 that was drafted on the eve of Rwandan independence. The Hutu called for democracy and freedom from the oppressive rule of the Tutsi aristocracy. The Hutu also compared Tutsi rule to colonialism, and asserts the idea that Tutsi were a Hamitic subgroup that migrated to Rwanda and usurped all power. This would cause a gaping chasm between Tutsi and Hutu groups and result in further hatred of one…show more content…
This system can be blamed for the systematic massacre of nearly a million Rwandans. Due to the nearly indistinguishable identities Hutu and Tutsi’s shared the classification between Tutsi and Hutu used possession of cattle as a classification criteria. Those with more than 10 cows were labeled as Tutsi and those with less were classified as Hutu. The use of cows as a criterion as a means of identifying ethnicity displays exactly how indistinguishable the Tutsi and Hutu cultures were. This system of ethnic sorting becomes even more disturbing when its place in the genocide is considered. During the genocide Hutu extremists used the ID cards distributed by the Belgians as a means of identifying who was to be killed. Those with Tutsi were killed immediately, and those that did not have ID cards were killed as well. The European divide between Tutsi and Hutu resulted in a massive chasm between the two groups and caused Hutu hatred of the

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