Wrapping up: Rwanda and Burundi

23 May 2014 | ResolutionPossible

Map rwanda burundi BBC

Map – BBC

Our Rwanda and Burundi series has been the most interactive and exciting series yet! Starting on the anniversary of the Rwandan 1994 Mass Killings, we watched and interacted with the very passionate debate online and across the world’s media. Our bloggers interacted incredibly well with the debate by providing context and prompting conversation on some of the main issues that arose online. If you missed out on these blogs, here’s a brief summary of what questions and points they addressed:

‘Ancient ethnic hatreds’

The media often uses phrases such as ‘ancient ethnic hatreds’ and ‘histories of tribal warfare’ in their cover of the Rwandan killings, without providing explanation as to what these are. The differences between the two major Rwandan ethnic groups – the Tutsi and Hutu – are imperative to understanding the events that unfurled. We took a step back in history to Rwanda in the Middle Ages to explore their feuds and provide context to the 1994 mass killings.

The Hamitic Hypothesis 

The Hamitic Hypothesis was used as justification for the mass killings of 1994. In our second blog we explore the origins of the Hamitic hypothesis in Rwanda and its connections to the mass killings.

What’s in a name: using the term ‘genocide’

In our third blog, we explored the language of ‘genocide’. In all media reports, the mass killings of 1994 are labelled the ‘Rwandan Genocide’. We explore how the inconsistency in the definition of genocide not only creates confusion in historical accounts but also has significant political and legal implications.

Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines 

Next we explored the power and influence of Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) from 1993-1994 and the role they played in shaping public opinion and transforming a country during the killings.

The role of the Rwandan Patriotic Front

Our final blog was split into two parts. Firstly, we explored the role of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) in ending the 1994 mass killings and their response to the aftermath of the killings post-1994. The second instalment explored the RPF government’s actions within Rwanda in the last twenty years, and the impact it has had on the current state of Rwanda’s economy as well as its political climate.

ResPoss Culture Club

In addition to all of this, we launched our Culture Club by first showcasing Terry George’s Hotel Rwanda. Your response was overwhelming and it proved that the arts can be a powerful and unifying catalyst to draw attention to real-world issues. We want to thank everyone who shared opinions and propelled debate via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and our website. We have summarised the numerous comments you sent us on Hotel Rwanda, and we hope the conversation will continue. We aim to feature as many of your reviews as possible, so if you feel your opinion has not yet been voiced then please add your thoughts on the Hotel Rwanda post in the comments section.

Commentary-Final

Resolution:Possible exists to explore and share information in hopes of gaining a better understanding of challenges like the ones highlighted throughout this series. The questions we raise are intended to be as fair and open as possible to encourage thoughtful reflection and constructive conversations, which we hope will spark ideas with the potential to change things for the better.

As always, we are keen to hear from you. What have we missed? Do you have a perspective to share, questions to add, or ideas to put on the table?

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Contributing writers/researchers for this series: Eric Bell, Becky Dale, Beverley Anderson, Hannah Caswell and Megan Setchell.

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