Rebuilding After the Rwandan Genocide

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SEATTLE, Washington — The Rwandan Civil War took place in 1994. The Rwandan Genocide was a part of that war. It was the slaughter of the Tutsi communities in Rwanda. The main reasoning behind the genocide was based purely on ethnicity. Gangs of the Hutu community wandered through streets brutally murdering the Tutsi people within their own villages and towns. Hutu citizens were encouraged to rape and kill their Tutsi neighbors and destroy their property. As a result of the genocide, about 800,000 people were killed and about 70% of the Tutsi population was eliminated.

It is important to note that the Rwandan Genocide was essentially a government-enforced event. Government officials forced the Hutu communities to gang up against the Tutsi people. The people killed were murdered by their own neighbors and colleagues. The government-mandated massacres revealed the political instability that Rwanda was going through and the major impact that left on the nation’s people. Today, maintaining political stability is at the core of the nation’s government and its people.

Impact of the Genocide

After the brutal killings came to a stop, the country was devastated both physically and mentally. Many citizens were left mentally disturbed as a result of the harsh violence they witnessed. Not only this, but many families were left in ruins with members killed and homes destroyed. As a result, about two million people had left the country and about one million citizens had been displaced.
The genocide against the Tutsi communities left the economy in ruins, which caused many people to fall into poverty. Not only did people lose family members but many lost homes and essential businesses and farms that were sources of income. Most of the Rwandan citizens lived in rural areas and depended upon subsistence farming.  When the genocide occurred, the Hutu gangs took part in destroying the property of the Tutsi people. As a result, rebuilding was a difficult process.

Rebuilding After the Rwandan Genocide

After the war’s end, many fled the nation in order to avoid political and social unrest. However, despite political instability, the nation had great plans for rebuilding. The country had successfully changed the political and social landscape through various government-enforced plans. Rwanda had quickly become one of the fastest-growing economies in Central Africa.
While most of the nation today live in extreme poverty, it has managed to lower the poverty rates. From 2005 to  2010, the poverty rate fell from 57% to 45%. Although the decrease is quite low, it reveals that Rwanda’s plans were working. Rwanda has also successfully reduced gender inequality as women make up around 64% of the Parliament of Rwanda.

Mending Communities

One of the main plans of the Rwandan government under President Paul Kagame was known as Umuganda. Umuganda is the practice and culture of self-help and cooperation in which communities would come together to help one another rebuild. Umuganda was an attempt towards reconciliation after the brutal fight between two ethnicities. This method was successful in bringing the communities back together and revamping the entire nation.
Another plan the government developed was the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission. This was in charge of releasing reports that revealed how well people were living with each other. This program was a part of President Kagame’s plan to ban “genocidal ideology” and all hate speech. It also played a successful role in bringing the communities together, moving forward from their harsh past.

Many other plans were initiated as attempts to move the nation forward by creating stability in terms of politics and government, society and the economy. Its “remarkable developments” in terms of coffee and tea production have lifted many out of poverty and also improved the economy. While problems still exist today, Rwanda is slowly but successfully working towards complete stability, putting the Rwandan Genocide behind it.

Krishna Panchal
Photo: Flickr

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