When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda

When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda

by Mahmood Mamdani
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0691102805

ISBN-13: 9780691102801

Pub. Date: 08/12/2002

Publisher: Princeton University Press

"When we captured Kigali, we thought we would face criminals in the state; instead, we faced a criminal population." So a political commissar in the Rwanda Patriotic Front reflected after the 1994 massacre of as many as one million Tutsis in Rwanda. Underlying his statement is the realization that, though ordered by a minority of state functionaries, the slaughter

Overview

"When we captured Kigali, we thought we would face criminals in the state; instead, we faced a criminal population." So a political commissar in the Rwanda Patriotic Front reflected after the 1994 massacre of as many as one million Tutsis in Rwanda. Underlying his statement is the realization that, though ordered by a minority of state functionaries, the slaughter was performed by hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens, including even judges, human rights activists, and doctors, nurses, priests, friends, and spouses of the victims. Indeed, it is its very popularity that makes the Rwandan genocide so unthinkable. This book makes it thinkable.

Rejecting easy explanations of the genocide as a mysterious evil force that was bizarrely unleashed, one of Africa's best-known intellectuals situates the tragedy in its proper context. He coaxes to the surface the historical, geographical, and political forces that made it possible for so many Hutu to turn so brutally on their neighbors. He finds answers in the nature of political identities generated during colonialism, in the failures of the nationalist revolution to transcend these identities, and in regional demographic and political currents that reach well beyond Rwanda. In so doing, Mahmood Mamdani usefully broadens understandings of citizenship and political identity in postcolonial Africa.

There have been few attempts to explain the Rwandan horror, and none has succeeded so well as this one. Mamdani's analysis provides a solid foundation for future studies of the massacre. Even more important, his answers point a way out of crisis: a direction for reforming political identity in central Africa and preventing future tragedies.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691102801
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
08/12/2002
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
1,175,955
Product dimensions:
6.16(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.92(d)

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations ix
Preface and Acknowledgments xi
Introduction: Thinking about Genocide 3
1. Defining the Crisis of Postcolonial Citizenship: Settler and Native as Political Identities 19
2. The Origins of Hutu and Tutsi 41
3. The Racialization of the Hutu/Tutsi Difference under Colonialism 76
4. The ''Social Revolution'' of 1959 103
5. The Second Republic: Redefining Tutsi from Race to Ethnicity 132
6. The Politics of Indigeneity in Uganda: Background to the RPF Invasion 159
7. The Civil War and the Genocide 185
8. Tutsi Power in Rwanda and the Citizenship Crisis in Eastern Congo 234
Conclusion: Political Reform after Genocide 264
Notes 283
Bibliography 343
Index 357

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