Causal explanation of genocide
The causal explanation of genocide is premised on the belief that responsibility for the eventual explanation can be assigned. Going by the principle of causality, everything that happens has a cause.
Genocide therefore has a cause. Genocide in Rwanda is a reality and was experienced and lived painfully not only when it happened but up to today.
It is thus known and known things have causes, which is why we why the causes of genocide are examined and adumbrated.
We saw earlier the role of the church in the whole process, and similarly, we cannot forget the missionary’s impact on the same society. The two go hand in hand are one in essence.
Missionaries first came to Rwanda in 1900 and worked hand in hand with the colonialists. Their mission while ‘civilising’ in excuse was to convert as many Rwandans as possible and as quickly as possible.
Like other missionaries elsewhere in the world, missionaries in Rwanda did their evangelisation through the teaching of the ‘word of God’!
Schools were created with the goal of converting present and future generations of the population to Christianity. They never entertained resistance to the conversion.
For example, when the then king of Rwanda, king Musinga, refused to be baptised in 1931, he was dethroned by the Belgians and replaced by king Rudahigwa.
This showed that the Catholic Church was not ready for any dissent to their stated mission. A king had to be ready to take their doctrines and not a threat to their advancements.
There was therefore a vivid symbiosis between the church, the colonial administration and the government of Belgium.
And more to that the fact that ethnic divisions were deep rooted in the colonial school system cannot be emphasized.
For different historical reasons, the Catholic Church gained monopoly over education in Rwanda at all levels from primary up to the highest institution.
Their monopoly of the educational system facilitated their entry into the political circles and hence discretely evangelised the whole society. It also helped them to colonies and impose their doctrines to Rwandans.
The missionary school was the beginning of the formalisation of ‘divisions’ among people. From all these assertions coupled with the described ‘Hamitic hypothesis’ that was based on controversial descriptions of the people of Rwanda, the whole process simply served the colonial agenda.
Students in the schools like their parents had identity cards that were used in discrimination. Identity cards were bequeathed by Belgians as a tool for proper discrimination against a group of Rwandans. They served in a discriminatory nature in schools, civil service, and in the army.
It is against this background that we see a phenomenon of extremists emerging and widening its parameters to genocidal proportions. This was further backed by formation of political parties, like, MRD and CDR, which were later to used as the pivotal lever of genocide.
The extremist position was too, supported by private machinery to keep leaders in their positions or office. The state leaders used the adopted history of hatred to continue dividing Rwandans, by constantly inciting them into conflicts and violence.
Propaganda was disseminated through the state media. A propaganda radio was put in place to advance hatred and incite violence against one group. Judging with the genocide, the radio known as RTLM did a ‘perfect job’.
RTLM journalists spread derogatory references of the ‘Tutsi’ as cockroaches, reptiles, etc. Extremists anywhere in the world will try to spread their ideologies and force governments to sing their tunes. The fruits of hate campaign were the inhalation of Rwandans who did not prescribe to the hate ideology.
The government however cannot stand solely alone as the accused accomplice. The international community including a diplomat in Rwanda who never demanded for the arrests of the killers is also an accomplice. Indeed they were all accomplices to the negation of life of many Rwandans.
The hate propaganda emphasised the “US versus THEM” dichotomous relation. That if you are not with us, then you are against us. In such a scenario, no middle ground was left. Moderates who tried to negotiate peace were denounced as traitors.
Before the genocide the ‘THEM’ had already been dehumanised as mentioned previously. They were likened to diseased vermin, rats or cockroaches. This was enough reason to justify the genocide ideology.
The perpetrators of genocide claimed they were purifying the society of cockroaches and this overcame the normal human revulsion against murder.
No one can feel remorse in killing a pest, if the other in not human, then killing it is not murder. This kind of dehumanisation had already been a great feature of genocidal massacres in 1959, 1961 and 1972.
Dehumanisation was not only perfected when the victims were alive through the use of derogatory references but also when they were about to be killed.
This manifests the beastly hatred that had been ingrained in the perpetrators’ minds through the communication media. Indeed all kinds of torture leading to death were used.
In general, the ideology of hatred in Rwanda was propagated and ingrained into the minds of Rwandans, by western colonizers like the Germans and Belgians. In post- colonial Rwanda, the leadership perfected the hate ideology for their maximum benefit.
The government opened the state machineries to be at the disposal of extremists, who not only set the ball rolling but also set the stage for the execution of the genocide. They indoctrinated the people’s mind.
The so called ‘plane crash saga’ should not at all be used as an excuse for the real cause of the genocide. It was just a climax, a final whistle.
The mind of the killers was already set and the victims were already dehumanized. So, a conducive atmosphere was already in place and executing genocide easy. After all it was a pest that was being annihilated.