One of Straus’ main points in his article is his effort to abolish the notion that the genocide that occurred in Rwanda had resulted due to “ancient tribal hatred.” This notion is the result of a concerted effort by many different parties including some in power in the Rwandan government. Straus believes that understanding the history prior to the genocide is the key to understanding why the genocide occurred. There were many different things that occurred that played a significant role in the set up of the genocide. The Belgians intervened in an attempt to develop a more stable and equally represented government but instead created a division among the population. These reforms implemented by the Belgians down the road would set the stage for the events that occurred in 1994.
The misconception that the genocide in Rwanda was a random event that occurred due to long standing tensions between two ethnic groups is one that I believed prior to the beginning of this course. Straus’ reading allowed for me to develop the argument against this notion. He discusses the dehumanization of another ethnic group through propaganda and other methods such as scapegoating. The beginning of the concept of Hutu against Tutsi can be traced back to the power struggles that the Belgians created. The path that Straus follows to explain the genocide is intriguing. The actors that helped prime Rwanda for the genocide are actors that otherwise would not have been noted.