Remembering the Rwandan Genocide

Thirty years ago, Rwanda’s government began a campaign to eradicate the country’s largest minority group. In just one hundred days in 1994, roving militias killed around eight hundred thousand people. Would-be killers were incited to violence by the radio, which encouraged extremists to take to the streets with machetes. The United Nations stood by amid the bloodshed, and many foreign governments, including the United States, declined to intervene before it was too late. What got in the way of humanitarian intervention? And as violent conflict now rages at a clip unseen since then, can the international community learn from the mistakes of its past?

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Host
  • Gabrielle Sierra
    Director, Podcasting
Credits

Asher Ross - Supervising Producer

Markus Zakaria - Audio Producer and Sound Designer

Molly McAnany - Associate Podcast Producer

Episode Guests
  • David J. Scheffer
    Senior Fellow
  • Claude Gatebuke
    Executive Director of the African Great Lakes Action Network

Show Notes

From April to July 1994, extremists from Rwanda’s Hutu majority killed almost eight hundred thousand members of its Tutsi minority and tens of thousands of moderate Hutus. The genocide was largely perpetrated by civilians whose flames of hatred were stoked by the radio and other media. Yet as armed mobs roamed the streets in search of victims, foreign governments including Washington equivocated at home about whether the killings constituted genocide, and UN peacekeepers stood by in Rwanda, restrained by their charter from stopping the mounting violence. 

 

The massacres left an indelible mark on Rwanda, which is still led by President Paul Kagame, the military commander who took power soon after his forces ended the genocide. And while Rwanda has made great strides toward development in the past thirty years, critics say they have come at the cost of Kagame’s increasingly repressive rule.

 

 

From CFR

 

Mariel Ferragamo, “Thirty Years After the Rwandan Genocide: Where the Country Stands Today

 

Phil Clark, “Rwanda’s Recovery: When Remembrance Is Official Policy,” Foreign Affairs

 

From Our Guests

 

Helen Epstein and Claude Gatebuke, “The Roots of Rwanda’s Genocide,” New York Review of Books

 

Claude Gatebuke et al., Survivors Uncensored: 100 Stories of Inspiration and Humanity From the Rwandan Genocide

 

David Scheffer, All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals

 

David Scheffer, “Lessons from the Rwandan Genocide,” [PDF] Georgetown University

 

Read More

 

Anjali Dayal, “Beyond ‘Do Something’: Revisiting the International Community’s Role in the Rwandan Genocide,” War on the Rocks

 

Jean Hatzeld, Blood Papa: Rwanda’s New Generation

 

Jina Moore, “What the West Gets Wrong About the Rwandan Genocide,” The Nation

 

Declan Walsh, “From the Horror to the Envy of Africa: Rwanda’s Leader Holds Tight Grip,” New York Times

 

Watch and Listen

 

Why Is Rwanda’s Leader Sowing Chaos in the Congo,” Foreign Affairs Interview

 

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