The movie "Hotel Rwanda" portrays very well the horror of the 1994 Rwandan massacre, and I watched it again a week or so ago. The 20th Century was the most terrible yet, for large-scale slaughters of people by people, and this one rounded out the dreadful record.
Rwanda is a landlocked central African country of 11 million, colonized by Germans then after 1918 by Belgium. It became independent in 1962 and both English and French are "official" languages. The population comes from two different tribes or races: Hutu form a large majority, while the more intelligent and better-educated Tutsi made up about 10%. There is a long history of violence between the two, yet they were well mixed and by appearance, it's hard to tell to which tribe any one person belongs. So they were all made to carry ID cards to reveal their race.
By 1994 the government was Hutu-run, and consisted partly of bigots who wanted no truck with Tutsis, but at the top by moderates who favored letting them participate so as to keep the peace. Such was the President, one Juvénal Habyarimana. Meanwhile in the North, a rebel army of Tutsis had formed to try to take power. Naturally, this made Tutsis suspect, in the Hutu dominated region. Imagine the position of Mexicans here, if a powerful invasion had been launched from our South by the Mexican government.
With participation by leading, hard-line members of the government, Hutus armed themselves with machetes and after President Habyarimana was assassinated on April 6th, the word went out by radio: "Cut down the tall trees" - a code phrase meaning, hack to death every Tutsi you can find.
The army got to work, along with many others. By July, 800,000 Tutsis lay dead; men, women, and children, harmless and unarmed. Incredibly, neighbors turned out and slashed neighbors to death.
That's a genocide rate of about 10,000 per day, or twice the highest rate achieved by the German government in its massacre of Jews.
Hutu Generals and government VIPs patronized a four-star Sabena owned hotel in Kigali called Mille Collines (Thousand Hills) and a dispensation was granted to its guests; hence it became a shelter from the bloodbath and its manager, Paul Rusesabagina, with amazing courage, diplomacy and bribery was able to save over 1,200 people from certain death by cramming them into rooms and corridors and billing them as paying "guests." Sabena gladly wrote off quite a lot of bad debt that year.
The horrible situation was confused, but now, 23 years later, the accounts I found agree that most or all of the killing was done not by the general Hutu population, but by the army and by a diffuse militia group called the Interahamwe, which had been stirred up by government propaganda to hate Tutsis, armed where needed with machetes, and then given the signal to start the slaughter. The size of this group in 1994 is given by Wikipedia as 100,000, so for each on average to kill 8 people in 100 days is credible. They set up road blocks to identify Tutsis and killed them at once, and followed government lists of people to root out of their homes and kill. Having killed, they stole the victims' property, so making the action "profitable"; they didn't need government pay.
The madness ended in July, when the rebel army reached Kigali and replaced the government with a Tutsi President; so far, it has survived and relative peace prevails.
Naturally, statists will say that this awful story shows what may take place if government were abolished; that government is essential to "restrain our vices" (as in Paine's Common Sense), to preserve civilization and prevent "anarchy" - which they deliberately equate with mayhem and murder. So let's recall some facts, remembering that "war is mass murder, wrapped in a pretty flag."
1. Governments killed about 16 million people in WW1, in the 1910s.
2. Government killed about 10 million people in the 1920s and -30s in Ukraine by starvation, when the socialist planning of the USSR produced too little food.
3. Governments killed another 60 to 80 million people in WW2, in the 1940s. That includes 6 million systematically liquidated by the Jew-hating German government, and a quarter million killed by the atom bombs of the USA and UK, with the almost-full support of the populations of those two countries.
4. Government killed another 35 million people by starvation in China between 1959 and 1962, when the socialist planning of the Communists produced too little food.
5. Government killed about 2 million people in Cambodia in the 1970s, when Pol Pot's tried to implement Communism.
6. As above, the Rwandan government killed 0.8 million in the 1990s.
These were by far the largest events of mass death in the Century, and every one of them was caused by government. Counting just civilian deaths but including many smaller events than these, Prof. Rummel counted 262 million government-caused deaths in the 20th Century. The idea that government prevents such evil totally inverts the truth, and any holder of that myth is aligning himself with a set of proven mega-murderers.
I'll finish with a postscript about the Rwanda massacre. To remind myself of its key facts I asked Ixquick for the most prominent accounts of what took place; but realized later that two factors were missing from all of them.
One: they did not use the term "terrorist". It perfectly describes the Interahamwe; all Tutsis lived in terror of them day and night for twelve weeks, and most of them did die. It seems "terrorist" is used only for those who use violence against Uncle, or his many well bribed friends and relations - but not for groups indoctrinated, prepared, armed, equipped and commissioned by a government to do its bidding.
And two: none of them explained why the Tutsis were unarmed, nor did they speculate on what outcome might have followed if many of them had kept a firearm about the house or in their purse. As it was, the killers had easy pickings; slash them to death and steal their stuff, then go home to their loving families. Suppose there had been a serious risk of getting shot, instead? We may never know, but it's odd that self-defense wasn't even discussed. It might make an interesting study for any reader choosing a PhD thesis in black history.