Rwanda: Reconciliation

Over a 100-day period in 1994, Rwanda suffered a genocide in which almost one million Tutsi, 20% of the country’s population, were branded as “cockroaches” and slaughtered by Hutu Rwandans. Tutsis were hacked to death with machetes by their neighbors and family members while the rest of the world stood by and did nothing.  The killing stopped when a Tutsi invasion, lead by Paul Kagame, took control of the country.  Rather than descending into a morass of retaliatory bloodshed, the new government committed to moving forward and today the country serves as a successful example of post conflict recovery.  The trials of 160,000 perpetrators were expedited and in a controversial attempt to prevent the recurrence of genocide, the Rwandan government now bans any discussion of ethnicity.  In addition, establishment of rule of law and elimination of corruption has lead to strong economic growth. Scars remain, but the progress forward is inspirational.

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