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Reactions to The Rwandan Genocide: Background information when reading Running the Rift

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Running the Rift

A Novel

by Naomi Benaron

Running the Rift
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2012, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2012, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

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Beyond the Book:
Reactions to The Rwandan Genocide

While the Hutu and Tutsi clans have been in Rwanda for centuries, it was after the Belgian colonialists took over the country in 1916 that categorizations into Hutu and Tutsi were made more explicit through the use of ethnic identity cards. The minority Tutsi were largely favored for government jobs early on in the colonial government and decades of resentment simmered until things went completely haywire in April 1994.

President Habyarimana It was then that the President of Rwanda, Juvénal Habyarimana, was killed in a suspicious plane accident along with the president of neighboring Burundi, Cyprien Ntaryamira. The Tutsis were immediately blamed and in a campaign of sustained genocide, over 800,000 Tutsi and Hutu moderates were killed in just 100 days.

The international community's apathy to these killings was almost as shocking. Even as thousands of Tutsis were being slaughtered, the U.N. Peacekeeping forces (UNAMIR - United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda) stood silently by without ...

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