To explain this theory, background information is needed. The Hutu and the Tutsi are differentethnicities within Africa. Perhaps during colonization their physical differences were noticeable but today they are not. These people were separated by class differences, the Hutu farmed agriculture and the Tutsi raised livestock. Movement in these classes was fluid and happened often. The Hutu and the Tutsi speak the same language and mostly the same Christian faith. When colonization happened, the Germans and Belgians came into the region near Rwanda and decided that the Tutsi, being taller and having sharper features like the Europeans, would be the elite class. The shorter, wider nosed Hutu would be the lower class. Movement in the social ladder was stopped and identification cards were mandatory, permanently displaying HUTU or TUTSI status. After the colonizers left, the Tutsi and the Hutu had many violent clashes due to the hate that was developed during this colonization period.
Rwanda. 1994. Was an awful time for African and namely Rwanda. The economic problems Rwanda experienced was blamed on Tutsi control. The catalyst for the violence was the alleged shooting down of a Hutu airplane carrying government members including the President. The Hutu wanted to kill off the entire Tutsi population. The Tutsi retaliated. In fact, the Hutus even killed other Hutus that didn’t agree with the mass murder. This was (in simple form) the genocide of 1994. The President of Rwanda instilled a hate and a fear between the two ethnicities and Human Rights Watch explains the situation as, “…(the) elite promoted hatred and fear to keep itself in power.” The genocide only ended when the Tutsi’s effectively defeated the Hutus. The division is still apparent today, though not as it was a decade ago.
The importance in NOT grouping together the two countries in a “Hutu v. Tutsi” paradigm lies with the way the violence will be mitigated. In an ethnic clash, stopping the killing of minorities or majorities and the retaliatory attacks that perpetuate between the parties is very difficult. A third party that chooses sides will only deepen the conflict as the Belgians and Germans did in Rwanda. The mistakes made are clearly visible in Rwanda. Burundi does not have this problem. Stopping the violence in Burundi centers around stopping an illegitimate government power from continuing his reign over the citizens of the country. The protests will end. A fair election can take place. A rightful President can be voted into office. This conflict is invariably different than Rwanda. A population uprising against an illegitimate government is NOT genocide between ethnicities. Making this mistake will only make mediating the situation worse. The only part of Rwanda that is similar to Burundi is the fact that no other country has decided that Burundi is important enough to assist. In Rwanda it was genocide, in Burundi it’s the breaking of a social contract between President and populace, but in both cases, the countries are left to fend for themselves.