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The 1959 Genocide in Rwanda

One of the most contested version of a genocide was the event of 1959 in Rwanda. Was it genocide against Tutsi or was it a genuine national peasant revolution?

When the Hutu rebelled against the Belgians and Tutsi elites that resulted in the death of about 20,000 Tutsi killed and over 300,000 forced into exile, the rebellion was named the “Hutu Peasant Revolution” which ended the Tutsi domination and by far sharpened the ethnic divide that would later manifest itself in the 1994 genocide.

Both the Hutu  and Tutsi thus have different ways they perceive the events of that bloody conflict of 1959. The  Hutus perceive 1959 as a year of the revolution in which the majority was defeated by the down trodden . The Tutsi on the other hand saw 1959  as a  continuation of genocidal tendencies exhibited by the Hutu  and defined that relationship between the two groups. There are arguments that 1959 genocide was actually precipitated by the Belgians who preferred to deal with the Tutsi at the expense of the majority Hutu. The lesser talked about tribe in this Rwanda configuration are the Twa who make about 1% of the population.

 

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