the mainstream narrative of the Rwandan genocide is a victim-blaming lie: a thread 

The vagues ideas that many people have about the genocide that took place in 1994 in —one where "extremist" Hutus set off cycles of senseless violence that Paul Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) raced to stop while the world kind of just watched & did nothing—is full of distortions, leaves out many important details, & even includes many outright lies.

This thread is a corrective. (genocide talk ahead)

Rwandan genocide - background 

First, a distortion to correct. ~The Tutsis~ & ~the Hutus~ are not "ethnic groups". The whole category of "ethnic groups" & "ethnic conflict" in Africa was designed to reinforce colonial rule by obscuring white power & still plays the same role today with neocolonial rule. Not going to make a full critique here, but hopefully the history leading up modern Rwanda gives an example that leads people to ask the right kinds of follow-up questions…

Rwandan genocide - background 

In the colony of Ruanda-Urundi, which was first claimed by germany before losing the first world war forced them to "hand it over" (🤮 ) to belgium in 1922, whites encountered a social structure similar to a monarchy. There were many people, mostly self-identifying as Bahutu, Batutsi, and Twa, living in the area, but whites found that militarily supporting the monarchy—& the rulers were Batutsi—let them better exploit the colony. African & european monarchs benefited.

Rwandan genocide - background 

Obviously, most Africans did NOT benefit from ruthless colonial exploitation. Since Hutus formed a simple numerical majority in the colony & the most visible local rulers were Tutsis, the visible form this resistance took culminated, during the period of "decolonization" in the 1960s, in a Hutu Power movement that overthrew the monarchy (of course the belgians kept it in place when they "left"). There were, of course, reprisals against royalists. It was a revolution.

Rwandan genocide - background 

HOWEVER, it needs to be made clear that this was not "ethnic" violence but *political* violence against a class of colonial collaborators. Throughout the 20th century, many Tutsi were not victimized because they were not part of or supporters of the colonial monarchy. While the former Tutsi rulers fled into exile in neighboring Uganda, and both the "post-colonial" states of Rwanda and Burundi had Hutu presidents & Hutus in political power, they were not "anti-Tutsi".

Rwandan genocide - background 

& so many Tutsi actually stayed in Rwanda & continued to live their lives. A fact which we'll come back to soon.

Meanwhile, like any group of hereditary rulers, the exiled Tutsi monarchs were sore fucking losers & constantly plotting a return to power. A whole generation of monarchists was born in Uganda. Some were integrated into the neocolonial Ugandan government—critically, in the military intelligence apparatus. This was not just by chance…

Rwandan genocide - Kagame plots a comeback 

First of all, control of the army is very strongly associated with control of the government in neocolonial Africa. Many with ambitions to power seek to win influence over the existing military force. In Uganda, Yoweri Museveni came to power in the 1980s after winning a guerrilla war against the incumbent government, and consolidated that power by putting his people in charge of the army (he also killed off most of his perceived rivals during the war).

Rwandan genocide - Kagame plots a comeback 

It was Museveni's military into which Paul Kagame (the current president of Rwanda who's usually framed as The Guy Who Ended The Genocide) and others from this Ugandan-born generation of exiled royalists, who would go on to form the Rwandan Patriotic Front that "stopped the genocide", ingratiated themselves successfully. (Museveni's Uganda & Kagame's Rwanda would be close allies of each other, *& the USA*, for much of the 1990s & 2000s.)

Rwandan genocide - Kagame plots a comeback 

Here are some key things Paul Kagame and other RPF leaders gained from their time in the Ugandan Army:

• US military training: Kagame went to military school in the state of kansas.
• US funding: in the years before the Rwandan genocide would "break out", the US gave the Ugandan military, which Kagame was a very important person in, hundreds of millions of dollars of funding.
• false flag operations: Museveni constantly made use of such operations.

Rwandan genocide - what is a false flag? 

For those who don't know what a false flag is (especially any amerikans who think it's some weird thing made up by tea party conspiracy theorists lol): it is basically a type of operation where you attack someone or something, but make it look like someone *else* did the attack.

Museveni's army carried out many false flags fighting against the Ugandan state, both for propaganda purposes ("look how evil my enemy is!") & to quietly eliminate rivals.

Rwandan genocide - false flags 

Someone may accuse someone else of carrying out false flags, & they may be right or wrong in doing so—if you're thinking of like, white right-wingers with odd ideas about school shootings, they probably make a lot of incorrect accusations of false flags—but they are real tactics of war & do happen.

Paul Kagame would basically take the use of false flags to new, horrifying heights.

The political environment in Rwanda was already tense in the early 1990s…

Rwandan genocide - assassinating presidents 

& after years of preparation, Kagame & the RPF stepped into this environment with a very carefully executed plan.

The incident that is usually seen as setting off the genocide is the crash of a plane carrying the presidents of Rwanda & Burundi. Both were Hutu, both were killed along with the other passengers.

However, this was not some "accident". The Rwandan Patriotic Front fucking shot down the plane with a carefully aimed surface-to-air missile.

Rwandan genocide - assassinating presidents 

Maybe some people talk about the ASSASSINATION of TWO HUTU PRESIDENTS as somehow causing Hutu "extremists" to get angry for unknown reasons, & of course mass media at the time did not carefully investigate the assassination (which, in the years since, multiple witnesses, including at least one RPF soldier who actually *took part* in it, have spoken to journalists about), but it was a targeted provocation. & it worked, in tandem with other provocations.

Rwandan genocide - stirring shit up 

The other major provocation was that Paul Kagame had been playing the long game over from Uganda. He'd infiltrated RPF troops into the country & had them stir up the kind of blunt "kill all the Tutsis" rhetoric that's usually dramatized in movies & articles. Many of the loudest voices demanding mass killings of Hutus were either RPF soldiers or people almost certainly influenced by them. (Remember, many Tutsis had stayed in the country & were fine before this!)

Rwandan genocide - stirring shit up 

So as the Interahamwe (you may have seen the name before) rose to prominence in the 1990s & began setting up the roadblocks where they infamously slaughtered people with machetes, the crucial omission is that it was Paul Kagame's own troops who were egging them on to do this, whenever they weren't taking part in the killing themselves. They assassinated the Hutu president & then demanded Hutu reprisals…then framed themselves as fighting "Hutu extremists". 😐

Rwandan genocide - "saviors" 

Since this was the RPF's plan the whole fucking time, of course they were prepared as soon as the genocide broke out. A huge military force led by Paul Kagame crossed the border from Uganda into Rwanda & began fighting* their way to Kigali, the capital, in order to stop the genocide being carried out by the Interahamwe & other "extremists".

* by "fighting" we mean "mostly killing innocent people & also any witnesses to said killings". yeah. about that…

Rwandan genocide - "saviors" 

Obviously, many Tutsis & Hutus were being killed. This is not a genocide denial thread lmfao. People were fucking dying. Where the lies are is in the reasons this slaughter happened.

For the most part, the RPF did not engage in, like, dramatic battles with Hutu genocidaires. They captured a lot of rural territory where most people offered up no resistance…& then killed them for being Hutu in a Hutu-majority country.

But remember, the RPF controlled the narrative…

Rwandan genocide - "saviors" 

So while foreign NGO workers, the UN, & journalists could mostly see the proof of the killings of Tutsi happening around Kigali for themselves, the RPF tightly controlled media access to territory under its control. This resulted in incidents nearly erased from history (look up "Byumba stadium massacre" if you think you can read about something like that) and many cases where the RPF falsely claimed the corpses of slaughtered Hutus were actually Tutsis.

Rwandan genocide - "saviors" 

In effect, everyone (at least, everyone Black…) was getting killed, but the RPF was working carefully to maintain an image of Tutsis as the sole & ultimate victims. Which worked because:

1) Nobody gives a shit about Black people so nobody knew the relevant history
2) Tutsis were very much being killed (Kagame instigated it)
3) The RPF were *directly* carrying out massacres of Tutsis themselves, *on top of* all the shit we've mentioned already.

Rwandan genocide - "saviors" 

Earlier in the thread, we said we'd come back to the many Batutsi who stayed within Rwanda when the monarchy fled. Well, the exiles looked down on them. They saw them as traitors. They held a fucking grudge against these "interior Tutsis". & they punished them for their "betrayal" (of, uh, staying in their homelands??) by killing them when the RPF invaded in 1994.

This grudge against "interior Tutsis" is yet another reason "ethnic conflict" fails to explain things.

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Rwandan genocide - stirring shit up 

@romainelaprophetesse wow i knew that Paul Kagame was bad news and that the mainstream narrative was incorrect, but i didn't realize they actively stoked genocidal rhetoric against Tutsis

That's messed up

Rwandan genocide - stirring shit up 

@RadiantEmber YES they PLANNED that shit out & made sure it happened!!

Rwandan genocide - stirring shit up 

@romainelaprophetesse i did a research paper for my Modern African history class about the Hutu genocide led by the RPF and Kagame after the end of what's typically known as the Rwandan genocide, and it's chilling

They chased countless Hutu refugees across the DRC massacring them and then covered up the evidence

There wasn't just one genocide that took place

Rwandan genocide - stirring shit up 

@RadiantEmber Oh right when they were "chasing Interahamwe terrorists" or whatever the fuck they told ppl. We'll get to that too

Rwandan genocide - stirring shit up 

@romainelaprophetesse thanks for this thread btw! It's very good

Rwandan genocide - what is a false flag? 

@romainelaprophetesse thank you so much for this thread!

Especially this explanation of the false flag concept unlocked a lot for me, not just in my understanding of Rwanda, but the neo/colonial world in general.

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Une instance se voulant accueillante pour les personnes queers, féministes et anarchistes ainsi que pour leurs sympathisant·e·s. Nous sommes principalement francophones, mais vous êtes les bienvenu·e·s quelle que soit votre langue.

A welcoming instance for queer, feminist and anarchist people as well as their sympathizers. We are mainly French-speaking people, but you are welcome whatever your language might be.