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Remembering the Rwandan Genocide: Teaching Difficult Histories

Kigali Memorial Centre wall

Click to Enlarge Remembering the Rwandan Genocide: Teaching Difficult Histories

April has been an infamous month in the history of violence against humanity, marking several anniversaries of acts of genocide during the 20th century—which is perhaps why April has been designated as Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month.

One date which will come into focus during this year's observances is the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, which began on April 7, 1994. The largest genocide since World War II, it was the product of a civil war that turned the majority Hutu against the minority Tutsi, resulting in at least 750,000 casualties. The massacre of the Tutsi began after a plane carrying Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana, a Hutu, was shot down, killing everyone on board. Fueled by propaganda, the Hutu accused the Tutsi of murdering their president and embarked on a death campaign using machetes, spears, and clubs.

Although past atrocities of genocide should always be remembered, this month is an opportunity to focus not only on these historical events and their long-reaching consequences, but also to engage students in considering how learning about the workings of past genocides can prevent future atrocities. This is also a time for educators to reimagine how to best approach teaching difficult stories, like those of the Rwandan Genocide. Use our Background Resources to support you in bringing these histories into the library and classroom this Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month.

Use our scholar-led video on the Rwandan Genocide to introduce students to the topic and support your learners in closer reading of the reference content. Concise articles and a timeline provide a brief overview of events surrounding the genocide and break down key concepts including causes, consequences, victims, perpetrators, bystanders, and international reaction. The Instruction will deepen the analysis of the essays and primary sources provided.

Fatima Policarpo
Fatima Policarpo is a senior writer and editor at ABC-CLIO. She received her MA in Literature from New York University and her BA in Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has taught college-level literature and writing with an emphasis on human rights education, and edited several academic literary journals, including Spectrum and Anamesa. She writes on history topics as well as on literature.

MLA Citation

"Remembering the Rwandan Genocide: Teaching Difficult Histories." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/2197188. Accessed 25 Aug. 2019.

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Entry ID: 2197188

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