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1. The history place of genocide in the 20th century. 1999. Rwanda 1994 800.000 deaths. Retrieved January 5th 2009 from The History Place. Website:


2. Socyberty. 2008. Rwandan Genocide: What History Teacher Teaches Us. Retrieved January 5th 2009 from Website:


3. Hopes in the horizon: Africa in the 1990s. 2000. Rwanda: Social and Political Impact in the 100 Days of Genocide by Ernest Rugwizangoga. Retrieved January 5th 2009 from Hopes in The Horizon: Africa in the 1990s. Website:


4. Center on Law & Globalization. 2009. Motives for Genocide. Retrieved January 5th 2009 from Smart Library on Law & Globalization. Website:


5. CBS News 60 minutes. 2007. Rwandan Genocide Survivor Recalls Horror. Retrieved January 7th 2009 from CBS News. Website:


6. Classics in the history of Psychology. 2000. A Theory of Human Motivation by a. H. Maslow (1943).Retrieved January 7th 2009 from Classics in the History of Psychology. Website:


7. Prejudice and Discrimination. Retrieved January 7th 2009 from Website:,articleId-26886.html?citation=true


8. 2008. The Sociological Perspective. Retrieved January 7th 2009 from Website:


9. “Anthropology, Cultural.” Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. Ed. Dinah L. Shelton. Gale Cengage, 2005. 2006. 7 Jan, 2009


9. Jean, Moise. The Rwanda Genocide: The True Motivations for Mass Killings. Retrieved January 7th 2009 from


10. Self-Determination Theory: An Approach to Human Motivation and Personality. SDT Theory. Retrieved January 7th 2009 from 

11. Motivation. Retrieved January 8th 2009 from Wikipedia:


12. E. Trimble, Joseph. Ethnic Identity. Retrieved January 8th 2009 from  

13. Fredrik Barth. Retrieved January 8th 2009 from Wikipedia:


14. Genocide Watch: The International Campaign to End Genocide.2002. The Dark Side of Modernity: Toward Anthropology of Genocide. Retrieved January 8th 2009 from Genocide Website:




There are 3 (three) main ethnic groups in Rwanda; the Tutsi (15%), the Hutu (84%), and the Twa – the Aboriginal inhabitants (1%). The Tutsis, the minority group, have been discriminated by the Hutus long before the First World War, although they actually share the same territory, same customs, speak the same language, and also have the same religion which is Roman Catholic. Rwanda was ruled by Germany and the Hutus were in power; nevertheless, Belgium took over Rwanda from Germany after WWI and placed the Tutsis in control. In between 1959 and 1962, under the regime of Major-General Juvenal Habyarimana who took over the government in July 1973, the Hutus murdered about 15000 Tutsis and over 100,000 Tutsis fled to their neighbouring countries which are Uganda and Burundi. In 1987, the Tutsis refugees in Uganda formed Rwanda Patriotic Front or RPF. The climax was on April 6th 1994, when President Habyarimana’s plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. His death was the catalyst for the genocide in 1994; all the Hutu extremists subsequently decided to exterminate all the Tutsis. The total of the Tutsis who survived are only about 130.000.



Sociological Perspective: DISCRIMINATION

Sociologically speaking, the meaning of discrimination refers to “perceive distinctions amongst phenomena or to be selective in one’s judgement” – as stated in Discrimination can be caused by prejudice which has 2 types, positive and negative – a type that can lead to discrimination. Based on the, there are some main factors that may trigger discrimination such as socialization, conforming behaviours, economic benefits, authoritarian personality, ethnocentrism, group closure, and conflict theory. From the factors that mentioned above, socialization and economic benefits are the factors that most related to the Rwandan Genocide case. Firstly, the media (e.g. television, radio, newspaper, etc.), which is part of the socialization, keeps humiliating various group of people – such as ethnic minorities, women, the disabled, the elderly, etc – by stereotyping them. As Gregory H. Stanton wrote in The 8 Stages of Genocide, Belgians distinguished Tutsis and Hutus by their nose size, height, and eye type. They also issued an identity card for everyone. Another way to distinguish them are from the number cattle owned; “the Tutsis are a minority group of predominantly upper-class cattle owners, and the Hutus are the predominantly lower-class, farming majority.” (Source: )

 1) Nose-size2) Identity Card

Secondly, discrimination occurs because of prejudice and prejudice may increase during times of economic and social stress. The failing economy had been a major factor behind the genocide as was overpopulation and the competition for insufficient farmland and other resources.

“Rwanda is a poor country with an economy based largely on subsistence agriculture. The scarcity of arable land and a rapid rate of population growth has severely strained The country’s efforts to develop its economy.”

–   East Africa Living Encyclopedia


Psychological Perspective: MOTIVATION

There are certain motivations that make people participated in the Rwandan Genocide. For example, Alex Ntibirukee, a civilian who thought he would be rewarded with a piece of land or a banana plantation from the Hutu leaders yet in one condition, he must kill the Tutsis – and he did. As stated in Moise Jean’s The Rwandan Genocide: the True Motivations for Mass Killings, the Rwandan Genocide was motivated by money, power, and hatred. Habyarimana’s long-term objective is to exterminate all Tutsis, even to the point of genocide, and all the Hutus extremists agree with him. His motivation is for a greater political freedom. Thus, from two examples above, they prove Richard Ryan and Edward Deci’s Self Determination Theory which “focuses on the importance of intrinsic motivation in driving human behaviour” that “requires active encouragement from the environment“.

Alex Ntibirukee

         Alex Ntibirukee 

As the country went into debt and the land decreased in value the Hutu elites from the South and West of Rwanda began to demand money, land, and similar benefits as the Northern Hutu. This began the challenge to Habyarimana’s power. Southern and central Hutu elites began to feel marginalized and increased in dissent towards the regime. Also the guerilla group comprised of a majority of Tutsi refugees trained in Ugandan camps, Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), invaded Rwanda and attempted to reach the capital Kigali. The threat from the RPF and the weakening of the Habyarimana regime led to an intense civil war… With his monopoly of power in jeopardy Habyarimana reached out to ethnic hatred and propaganda against the Tutsi to bring about further instability to win support of the Hutu majority. The civil war lasted several years throughout the early 1990s with many cease-fires and ethnic massacres as commonoccurrence.”

– Moise Jean: The Rwandan Genocide – The True Motivations of Mass Killings


Anth  Anthropological Perspective: CULTURE 

 Based on  Fredrik Barth’s Theory of Ethnicity that says “ethnic identity was a means to create boundaries that enabled a group to distance themselves from one another“, the regimes set perpetrators and victims apart. For instance, in this genocide case, the Hutus have been separated from the Tutsis. 


January 2009


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