Some Notes on the Failed Decolonization of Rwanda
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The study addresses some important issues concerning the decolonization of Rwanda as reflected mostly in Belgian archival documents. Its main aim is to analyze the polarizing ethno-political atmosphere which resulted from completely failed policy of “racial” division of natives in Rwanda into fixed categories of “Hutu” and “Tutsi”. It deals with the process of artificial ethnic categorization and its materialization in the political struggle in the last years of Belgian colonial rule which were, retrospectively, probably the most crucial and turbulent in Rwandan modern history, especially when it comes to the genocide in 1994. Proclamation of Rwandan independence in 1962, victory of the Hutu political parties in autumn of 1961, and ambivalent attitude of the Belgian administration toward increasing tensions presented the first major threat to the cohabitation of the Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda, which still remains one of the most tangible examples of the negative effects of the European colonialism, and the quick, unprepared, chaotic, and desperately underestimated decolonization which, in many other cases, led to deep political crises in Africa.
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