Friday, March 17, 2006

Tutsis-side

The Tutsis have been in power since the colonial period when the Belgians came and told us we were superior in looks and intelligence to the Hutus, they established a racial hierarchy where we were viewed as the upper-class, and they gave us identity cards to show this difference. Their views of us as taller with sharper noses giving us status as the elite, clearly makes us different. We have been given better education and better jobs. We’ve enjoyed 43 years of this from 1916 until 1959. Now the Hutus is considered superior and say we are not the true people of this land, but the colonists believe we are hamitics, descendents from Noah’s son Ham. We were the leaders who taught you what it is to be civilized.
Point 1 –different caste- smarter, taller
Point 2- higher class
Point 3- rulers- taught Hutus about civilization
Point 4- 43 years of leadership, we belong here

Monday, March 13, 2006

Team Members:
Samatar Abdi
David Collins
Leslie Heaton
Kimberly Hurd
Marnetia Page

Tutsis vs. Hutus

The Tutsis’ true origin is uncertain; some say that they are the descendants of the Hamitic people, from Noah’s son Ham. Other scholars believe that the Tutsis migrated from Sudan, Ethiopia, or Uganda around 1400 years ago (Tutsis, 2006). Other tribes of Africa were also migratory as the result of famine, floods and droughts. The Tutsis have been a grazing society, owning cattle which produced milk and meat in abundance for their people compared to the Hutus who were mainly farmers. The roles were often known to have been reversed with the Hutus keeping the cattle and the Tutsis farming. The division and separation that exist between the Tutsis and Hutus is thought to be superficial, the only difference being their occupations and cultural backgrounds. They even speak the same language. It is said that the names Tutsis and Hutus were brought into existence to differentiate between classes and castes rather than ethnicity. It is believed that to distinguish between the two tribes, height was factored because the Tutsis are much taller than the Hutus. The Tutsis and Hutus were intermingling between clans for hundreds of years. (Tutsis, 2006).

The Tutsis have been persecuted for centuries, for example in the 19th century, King Kigeri Rwabugiri, forced the migration of hundreds of thousands of Tutsis to other areas of Africa which resulted in thousands of deaths. In the twentieth century, during the European Colonial period things changed, the Germans closely followed by the Belgians, were in power. The white man established the racial hierarchy. They instigated racism preferring the tall lanky Tutsis to the shorter and broader Hutus. The Tutsis were thought to be the more intelligent race and the Hutus to be childish. The Tutsis were given advantages including education and jobs. The Belgians even issued identity cards indicating whether a person was Tutsis or Hutus which caused further strife. The Belgians considered the Hutus unable to govern the country. Ironically, the Hutus ended up running the country which led to the oppression and genocide of the Tutsis as a minor group in the late 20th century.

In 1964, the Hutus over reacted to the roughing up Chief Mbonyumutwa, of the Hutus while leaving church by several Tutsis teenagers. It was youthful indiscretion, but the Hutus retaliated with a vengeance and again many Tutsis were massacred. (Debay, 1994) On October 1, 1990 the Rwandese Patriotic Front representing the Tutsis invaded Rwanda from its base in Uganda because the Government failed to recognize the problems of the 500,000 Tutsis ousted from their homes. The Tutsis intention was to save and defend its people whom President Habyarimana and his government chose to neglect. The Hutus felt that Rwanda would be better off once all the Tutsis were removed.


In 1994 when the radio messages to the Hutus to “cut the tall trees” meaning the Tutsis was broadcast over the airwaves it became evident that the Hutus planned to massacre the Tutsis. Over a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were defenselessly hacked to death with machetes. Many of their own neighbors were instructed by the Hutus rebels to kill them, or be killed themselves. The Tutsis could not even seek refuge in a religious setting such as a church. The Hutus bulldozed a Catholic church with 3000 Tutsis inside with the help of the priest. Many of the Tutsis tried to flee the wreckage and they were hacked to death with machetes by the heartless Hutus. It is time for the Hutus to stop persecuting the Tutsis.

References:

Debay, Y. (1994). The roots of the rwandan problem. RAIDS, 36(November), 18-27.

Rwanda Genocide. (2006, March, 15). Retrieved March, 15, 2006, from Wikipedia,
The Free Encyclopedia Web site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_Genocide
“Talking about Tribe” Moving from Stereotypes to Analysis. Published 1997
Tutsis. (2006, March, 15). Retrieved March, 15, 2006, from Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia Web site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tutsi