Ways in which Hotel Rwanda depicts role colonialism in Rwandan Genocide.
Supply of arms: Belgium was the country that colonised Rwanda and it had a major role in the genocide. At 25th Jan in 1994 and under the cover of darkness, weapons that were produced in Belgium arrived in Rwanda aboard a Belgium aeroplane. It was one of the mortars that were supplied by the Belgium that would be used to strike the aeroplane of the Rwandese Prime Minister on April 6 (Robbins, pages 272).
Tribal classification and side-lining
The colonials sided with the Tutsi because they viewed them as similar to them and by that fact they felt buoyed by that classification against their fellow tribe.”…Belgium issued cards and intensified the split between Hutu and Tutsi ‘by institutionalizing racist doctrines’” (Anup Shah, 7th paragraph). As if that was not enough, the colonials were responsible for eliminating the Hutu chiefs with those from the Tutsis and also partitioned the two ethnic groups with ID cards that specified the ethnicity of the holders (Anup, 7th paragraph, 1st point).
The Belgians gave priority to the Tutsis by appointing them to collect the taxes and also to oversee the justice system (Anup, 7th paragraph, 2nd point). In the war that broke in 1959, the Belgium gave the Hutus the green to torch the houses of the Tutsis (Robins, page 270). Belgium encouraged the Hutu to conduct a coup shortly after Rwanda gained independence. To maintain their influence in Africa, the French provided the weapons to the government of Rwanda and the army increased by eight times from the original five thousand (Robbins, page 271). A military officer featured in a retaliation operation and led to the arrest of the political opponents and authorized a massacre of several hundreds of the Tutsi.
The colonialists were also responsible for inciting the ethnic tribes because they played behind the scene by overseeing that the Hutu limited the level of education that the Tutsi accessed and also government employment (8th paragraph, 5th point).
The colonial powers were responsible for the Rwanda genocide by both inciting the tribes and supplying the arms (Bruno).The Belgium openly showed that it favoured the Tutsis by giving them the authority to collect the taxes and in another incident incited the very Hutus that they were against. That meant that the Belgium was playing both tribes, at one time favouring a specific tribe and the next time fighting it.
Discussion question: it seems that the colonial masters will not let their grip, playing the invisible hand, from their former African “protectorates” soon. Not with the smuggling of their mastermind cartels whereby they smuggle gold from Congo and Nigerian oil through the Cameroon border.
Bruce, Robbins. Intellectuals:aesthetics, politics, academics. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota, 1990.
Anup, Shah. “Rwanda Global issues”. 25th Oct.2006. <http://www.globalissues.org/article/429/rwanda>.
Rumki, Basu. Globalisation & the changing role of the state: issues & impacts. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 2008.