Beginning on April 6, 1994, the Rwandan genocide lasted nearly 100 days leaving an estimated 500,000-1,000,000 dead. While the campaign to exterminate the Tutsi-minority was led by Hutu extremists, it would be a mistake to hold a single group responsible for this mass atrocity. Comparative studies of other conflicts show that it would also be a mistake to consider genocide an anomaly.
While we often see the conflict as a clash of racial or ethnic groups, the cycle of violence is often part of larger structural forces that form political identities through privileged rule.
- Mahmood Mamdani. 2001. When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Sexual and racialized violence are some of the most well-known parts of genocide, but conflicts over property and the political construction of difference are also elements which occur earlier and may act as warning signs.
- John Hagan and Wenona Rymond-Richmond. 2009. Darfur and the Crime of Genocide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Comparative studies of atrocities in other contexts can also show how societies remember suffering.
- Robyn Autry. 2010. “Memory, Materiality, and the Apartheid Past.” Contexts 9(3): 46-51
- Barbara Sutton. 2010. “Situating Memory in Argentina.” Contexts 9(3): 52-57
For further reading, check out this TSP feature on The Crime of Genocide.