Topic outline

  • Unit 2

    TOPIC 1 Living in Society: Peace and Conflicts

    Key unit competence: To be able to analyse the causes and consequences of genocide with a special emphasis on the Genocide against the Tutsi and devise ways of reconstructing the Rwandan society as well as preventing genocide from happening again


    1. Write a brief history on what happened during the Genocide against the Tutsi.

    2. What were the consequences of the genocide in question (1) above?

    3. What do you think can be done to prevent any future occurrence of genocide in Rwanda?

    1.1 Concept of genocide

    Ac ivity 1

    Answer the following questions.

    1. Explain the meaning of the term genocide.

    2. Research and find out the difference between genocide and other mass atrocities/crimes.

    3. Discuss acts perpetrated on victims of genocide and other mass atrocities/crimes.

    Th e 1948 United Nations (UN) convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide defines genocide as any act(s) committed with intent to destroy, in whole or part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. Th is involves the following acts:

    • killing members of a certain group

    • causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group

    • deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part

    • imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group

    • forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

    Activity 2

    Discuss and answer the following questions.

    1. From the above listed acts, identify countries where acts of genocide have taken place.

    2. Identify the violent acts of genocide infl icted on the Tutsi in 1994.

    3. In your own opinion;

              a) What do you think should happen to people who incite others to commit genocide?

              b) What do you think should happen to people who conspire to commit genocide?

    The five acts highlighted on page 1 were perpetrated against the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994. Th is is why it is called the Genocide against the Tutsi. They were also perpetrated against the Jews by the Nazi (Holocaust/Shoah) in Germany. Mass atrocities have been witnessed in China, Cambodia, Tibet, Argentina, El Salvador, Chile, Guatemala, Colombia, Sudan (Darfur) and Bosnia. However, they are not forms of genocide.

    Activity 3

    Research and answer the following questions.

    1. What led to collective or group violence in the following countries:

         a) Chile                  b) Sudan (Darfur)

         c) Bosnia                d) Tibet

    2. Discuss the forms of violence meted out to the victims in the countries listed in question (1) above.

    3. Do you think a solution would have been arrived at to prevent the collective violence that happened in the countries listed in question (1)?

    Genocide is an international crime. States and their citizens should guard themselves against genocide. Race, religion, political ideology, ethnicity, nationality or cultural diff erences are the key elements on which propaganda to commit genocide builds.

    Activity 4

    Discuss and answer the following questions.

    1. Find out the information or propaganda used to incite others to commit genocide in the following countries.

                   a) Rwanda

                    b) Germany

    2. Justify the claim below in reference to question (1) above.

    a) Comment on the view that leaders prepare the ground for genocide by using propaganda against those who are not on their side.

    b) Prior preparations and financing are done deliberately to commit acts of genocide.

    1.2 Development of genocide

    Genocide never takes place suddenly. It is a culmination of a long process that usually takes place in distinct steps or stages. Various scholars have explained how genocide develops. Some of them include Gregory H. Stanton and Ervin Staub who have conceptualised the development of genocide as a progression. They have each provided a continuum of steps through which genocide develops.

    Activity 1

    1. Examine the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and identify factors that led to its development.

    2. In distinct steps, describe how the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda developed.

    The 10 stages of genocide according to Gregory H. Stanton

    1. Classification: Distinguishing people into ‘us’ and ‘them’ by ethnicity, race, religion or nationality.

    2. Symbolisation: Th is involves giving names or symbols to classify the victim group to distinguish them.

    3. Discrimination: Usually takes a legal, cultural, custom, or political form used by the perpetrator group. They use power and authority to deny the rights of the victim group.

    4. Dehumanisation: Th e perpetrator group treats the victim group as second class citizens. Dehumanisation makes the victim group easily vulnerable to the dominant group.

    5. Organisation: Special army units or militias are usually trained and supplied with arms in readiness to carry out the nefarious activities.

    6. Polarisation: Efforts are made by the dominant group to draw a sharp wedge between them and the victim group. Hate groups spread propaganda to reinforce prejudice and hatred between the two groups.

    7. Preparation: Th is is done to ensure that everything takes place. Adequate preparations that entail identifi cation of victims and tools for use are made.

    8. Persecution: Th is stage begins with identification and separation of victims due to differences between them and the perpetrators. Death lists are drawn up.

    9. Extermination: Killing of all the members of the victim group begins at this stage. With time, the killings take on genocidal proportions.

    10. Denial: Denial is the surest indicator of further genocidal massacres. Perpetrators go to great lengths to conceal their acts and deny having committed any crime.

    Violence usually evolves from one stage to another. In most situations, limited discrimination transforms into progressive discrimination, persecution and violence against victimised groups. Occurrence of intense violence and discrimination leads to a higher chance of it progressing to mass killings or genocide.

    Activity 2

    Answer the following questions.

    1. Discuss each of the ten steps in the continuum of violence as developed by Gregory H. Stanton.

    2. Identify the similarities and differences between the steps identified in Activity 1 on page 3 and those presented in the continuum of violence on page 3.

    3. Examine the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and explain how it developed using the continuum of violence developed by Gregory H. Stanton.

    Lesser acts of discrimination and violence against the victim group, change and transform the perpetratorgroup negatively. Actions against the victim group are based on devaluing them. They are seen as less human hence the need to be removed from the perpetrators’ ‘world’. All efforts by the perpetrator group are geared towards committing violence against them.

    Consequently, there is a bad change in the behaviour of the perpetrator group due to these efforts. Institutions are also changed or where possible, new ones are created to help further the goals of the perpetrator group. Th e attitude of by-standers and the rest of the population undergoes change too, for the worse. Th e victim group is then subjected to high level of intense violence which culminates in genocide.

    Activity 3

    Research and examine the continuum of violence in ten steps as devised by Ervin Staub, RLB and adapted by Aegis Trust.

    1.3 Genocide in the world

    Genocide has been observed in different parts of the world at various times. The main examples have been the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and the Jews (Holocaust) in Germany.

    1.3.1 The Genocide against the Tutsi

    Activity 1
    Using genocide related resources such as testimonies, reports, publications and stories from survivors and perpetrators of the Genocide against the Tutsi, answer the following questions.

    1. Explain what happened in Rwanda during the Genocide against the Tutsi.
    2. Do you think what happened in question (1) above was just a culmination of an already planned move by the extremists regime to kill the Tutsi?
    3. Where did the weapons used during the genocide come from?
    4. Discuss the development of the genocide against the Tutsi in ten steps according to continuum of violence developed by Gregory H. Stanton.

    Th e Genocide against the Tutsi had long been in planning. These plans were well advanced as early as 1990. Th e perpetrators of the Genocide against the Tutsi used the death of the then president Juvenal Habyarimana on 6th April 1994 as a pretext to exterminate the Tutsi. Th e genocide was planned by regime extremists whose majority had enrolled into the Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi to kill the Tutsi.

    The massacres were deliberate, carefully planned and well executed by Hutu extremists. Hate propaganda was spread through mass media such as Radio Télévision Libre des Milles Collines (RTLM) and Kangura, a radical newspaper, as well as during political rallies and public gatherings. The extremists spread incitement to kill, along with constant verbal attacks on the Tutsi. They also published lists with names of hundreds of people to be killed and threatened anyone who had relations with the Tutsi. They referred to the Tutsi as ‘cockroaches’ and ‘snakes’. This was meant to dehumanise the Tutsi and to justify the acts of violence perpetrated against them.

    There was a Hutu power union between the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), Coalition for Defence of the Republic Party (CDR), Republican Democratic Movement (MDR), Social Democratic Party (PSD) and Liberal Party (PL) who converged against the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) in its struggle to conquer power by force. They were armed, backed and led by the extremist government of Rwanda. They purchased a huge number of weapons such as machetes which were used to carry out the genocide. The weapons were distributed to the Interahamwe. Death squads such as Amasasu, Akazu and Reséau Zéro carried out the killings during the genocide.

    After the plane crash that killed President Habyarimana, road blocks manned by Hutu militiamen, often assisted by paramilitary police or military personnel were set up to identify the Tutsi. They would systematically drive the victims from their homes and assemble them at pre-arranged places before killing them. Th e killings continued for a span of a hundred days and 1,074,0171 victims lost their lives.

    The United Nations (UN), United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) and western powers were aware of the regime preparing a genocide but they did nothing to stop it. By early July 1994, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) forces had control of the majority of the country. Th e RPF helped to stop the genocide and rescued the victims.

    Ministry of Administration, Information and Social Affairs, Final Report 2002.

    Activity 2
    Discuss and answer the following questions.1. Describe what the international community and regional organisations could have done to prevent the Genocide against the Tutsi from happening.2. How eff ective are the testimonies from the survivors, repenting perpetrators, genocide memorials and reports on the genocide in educating the people of Rwanda?3. What ideas, behaviours and actions do you think may lead to a recurrence of genocidal violence in Rwanda if left to develop further?4. Give solutions to problems identifi ed in question (3) above.

    1.3.2 The Holocaustor Shoah

    With the help of your teacher, identify a movie that is based on the Holocaust and watch it. After watching the movie, answer the following questions in groups.

    1. Explain the events that lead to the occurrence of the Holocaust.

    2. Identify Human Rights that were violated during the Holocaust.

    3. Examine methods used by the Nazi to identify Jews during the Holocaust.

    4. Describe how survivors were able to escape the Nazi during the Holocaust.

    Th e term Holocaust is derived from two Greek words holos (whole) and Kaustos(burnt). It thus literally means ‘burning of the whole’. This term is used today to describe the Nazi extermination of the Jews and other anti-Jewish activities. This was done between 1939 and 1945 during the Nazi regime period in Germany under Adolf Hitler.

    This period also witnessed the killing of other targeted groups such as the Soviet citizens and Soviet prisoners of war, ethnic Poles, physically and mentally challenged Germans, members of Jehovah Witness, Roma and other ethnic, sexual and political minorities. The number of people killed was 11 million, of which, 6 million were Jews.


    Th e Holocaust took place in four distinct stages. They include:

    a) Enactment of legislation against the Jews which was undertaken prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.

    b) Establishment of concentration camps where people were used as slave labourers until they died.

    c) Mass killings of Jews and political opponents by specialised units called Einsatzgruppe C.

    d) Transportation of victims in boxcars by freight train to extermination camps where they were killed in gas chambers.

    The Nazis did this on the pretext that they wanted to keep the Aryan race pure. Th is is what the government referred to as the ‘final solution’ (Endlosung) to the ‘Jewish problem’. The Wannsee Conference was convened to discuss measures needed to implement decisions that included killing all Jews. Large sections of the German population were either directly or indirectly involved in the mass killings. Jews and other targeted groups were killed in extermination camps or worked to death in concentration camps established in different parts of Europe. The table below shows the number of Jews killed in the extermination camps.



    Hitler’s followers supported an anti-Semitic policy, that is, ‘the final solution to the Jewish problem’. Th e Germans had been made to attribute all their sufferings to the Jews. Th e anti-Semitic policy was pursued cautiously. However, the Nazi, under Adolf Hitler, took it to greater heights.

    Not all Germans participated in the genocide against the Jews. Some Germans protected them by arranging for their safe exit. Unfortunately, those caught by the Nazi suffered the same fate that befell the Jews. Th e genocide was stopped when the allied troops managed to remove the German forces from the occupied territories and later from Germany itself. It was during the Nuremberg trials that the scale of the genocide perpetrated against the Jews and other targeted groups came to the limelight.

    Activity 4

    Research more on the Holocaust and answer the following questions.

    1. Why do you think the Nazi blamed the Jews for all their problems?

    2. Describe what used to happen to the Jews and other targeted groups in extermination camps.

    3. Discuss the development of the Holocaust using the ten steps according to the continuum of violence developed by Gregory H. Stanton.

    4. Was the international community in a position to stop the Holocaust from taking place?

    5. Discuss why the international community and other nations took a long time to stop the Nazi from killing the Jews.

    6. Explain measures taken by the international community to ensure genocide never takes place again in the world.

    7. Identify actions taken by the Jews to keep the memory of the Holocaust and promote healing and reconciliation.

    8. Comment on the Holocaust and identify lessons learnt from it.

    9. Assess the similarities and differences in the occurrence of the two genocides we have discussed (Holocaust and Genocide against the Tutsi).

    10. Was the international community’s response similar in the two genocides above? Give reasons for your opinions.

    1.4 Consequences of genocide in general 

    Activity 1

    Assess the effects of genocide on an individual, community and country.

    The world has witnessed genocide and mass killings in different places. Genocide has the following consequences:

    1. Loss of lives

    Many lives are lost in the event of a genocide occurring, for instance, 6 million Jews and more than 1,074,017 Tutsi were killed in the genocides.

    2. Sustainment of injuries

    Many people sustain injuries during genocide perpetration. Such injuries change the lives of survivors forever.

    Activity 2
    Answer the following questions.

    1. Discuss the kinds of bodily injuries that the Jews and the Tutsi sustained during the genocides that befell them.
    2. How did the injuries sustained by victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi affect or change their lives?

    3. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

    Th e occurrence of a genocide creates traumatic situations for the victims. Th ose who manage to survive do suff er from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Th e ugly scenes survivors witness and many troubling conditions they endure during the genocide bring about PTSD. Victims also experience other psychological disorders, depression and excessive anger.

    4. Displacement of persons

    Some victims flee from areas where genocide is taking place. to look for safety.

    Activity 3

    Identify a genocide survivor near your school. Pay him or her a visit and ask the following questions.

    1. How did he or she survive the genocide?

    2. Does he or she experience PTSD?

    3. What has been done to help him or her to overcome PTSD?

    4. How can survivors who experience PTSD be helped to enable them lead productive lives?

    5. During the genocide, was he or she displaced?

    6. Where did he or she flee to for safety?

    7. What was his or her experience as an internally or externally displaced person?

    5. High number of orphans and other vulnerable dependants

    The high number of deaths associated with genocide usually results in a high number of orphans and other vulnerable dependants. As a result, the society is tasked to take care of the orphans. In worse cases, such children are left to fend for themselves and most end up as child-headed families.


    Activity 4

    Examine what was done in support of orphans whose parents or guardians died during the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

    6. Spread of sexually transmitted diseases and infections

    Women and girls are raped and in some cases, contract sexually transmitted infections and diseases such as HIV and AIDS, gonorrhoea, herpes or syphilis.

    7. Damaged or destroyed relationships

    The victim group and the perpetrator group usually develop mistrust towards one another. Th is may prevent them from working together in future. Genocide damages or destroys the good relationships that existed between the victims and perpetrators.

    8. Destruction of property

    During the occurence of a genocide, the victims’ properties are usually targeted too. Some are destroyed while others are illegally or forcefully acquired by the perpetrators.