Tuesday, April 06, 2004

RWANDA: TEN YEARS LATER



Ten years ago today, the airplane carrying the leaders of Rwanda and Burundi was shot down, killed both. This was the pretext used by a group of extremists to execute a pre-planned genocide against the minority Tutsi community. It also targeted Hutu political opponents, most of whom were moderates in favor of a power-sharing deal with the Tutsis, a deal opposed by the regime's hardliners. In the slaughter, around 800,000 people were killed in only 100 days -- approximately 5 1/2 murdered every single minute of every single day for over three months. It is widely believed to be the most "efficient" mass murder in history. And far from being secretive or in the fog of war like previous genocides, this was unique in that it was broadcast around the world live and in color on CNN and the BBC. Today marks the beginning of a week of commemorations in Rwanda of the trauma. In honor of this, I will try to post an article each day on the subject for the next week.

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Tommorrow's topic: 20th century Rwandan history, pre-genocide.

To learn more: BBC News special section on the anniversary.

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