In their greatest hour of need, the world failed the people of Rwanda.
— Kofi Annan

Genocide is not only the mass murder of a population based on a fundamental part of their character; it is the intention to annihilate an entire population. It's a promise by radical extremist that once the "undesirables" are eliminated the societal problems they are struggling with will vanish as well. 

Genocide, the podcast, uses the stories of survivors and experts to not only tell the story, but also consider how a large number of people were compelled to murder their former friends and neighbors... including children and the elderly... every member of the class unworthy of life was to be killed.

They didn't succeed in their goal of wiping out the entire population of the Tutsi people during the genocide - there were survivors. The Hutu, the oppressors, were manipulated by a few high ranking radicals, but they eventually lost power. In fact the leader of the party fighting to end the genocide is still the current president of Rwanda.

In one hundred days a million people were murdered. The Hutu people, united by the hate that had been indoctrinated with, didn't use guns or other weapons of mass destruction to kill the Tutsi and the moderate Hutu who helped the Tutsi. They were armed with clubs and machetes - they beat, sliced, and hacked innocent people to death - because of their social class and how many cows they owned.


The description of the citizens of Rwanda will be discussed in the podcast, but here is a cheat sheet if you need some help with the spellings. Rwanda was comprised of three ethic groups the Tutsi, The TWA ,and the Hutu. 

  • The Batwa, referred to as the TWA are the indigenous people of Rwanda who tend to make their homes in forested areas. They are spread out in what might be referred to as a tribe like communities. Many TWA work as day laborers. They embrace their unique culture filled with music and dance, but physically there is little to no difference between the TWA and the other ethnic groups. They look alike and speak the same language. As the country became more developed the available forrest areas decreased and some TWA even had there homes taken away. The poverty level and decreased access to education stigmatized the TWA as ignorant and even savage. The TWA make up about one percent of Rwanda's population, but those one percent are frequently marginalized and underpriveledged.

  • The Tutsi sometimes referred to as the Abatutsi or the Watutsi are the elite class of Rwanda. The Tutsi were frequently identified by the number of cows they owned - ten cows were needed to achieve Tutsi status. It was also suggested without a lot of scientific proof that the Tutsi had longer necks and noses. Despite being the upper class group, the Tutsi only made up 14% of the population. 

  • The Hutu also sometimes referred to as Abahutu are the working class people. Because physically all of the residents of Rwanda look similar, it might be difficult to determine a Hutu who is well of financially from someone who is Tutsi. Prior to a social revolution in 1959 Rwanda's leadership had been part of the Tutsi, but from that time until President Kagame became president in 1994 the presidents were Hutu. The Hutu people were happier with a Hutu president because as the group with the largest population in Rwanda they wanted to ensure their issues were considered. The Hutu people make up 85% of the Rwanda population. 

The Traditional Dance of the TWA, an important part of their culture

A description of the Hutu and Tutsi coflicts that lead to Genocide 

The Hours of Need

  • April 4, 1994 Juvénal Habyarimana, the Rwandan president, signed a peace agreement known as the Arusha Accords, signifying the end of the Rwandan civil war which began in 1990;

  • April 6, 1994 created the spark igniting Rwanda's greatest time of need. Two days after the agreement was signed by President Habyarimana he was assassinated. His plane was shot down by an unknown assailant above the airport in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. In an ironic twist of fate the airplane crashed into the presidents home - there were no survivors.

  • April 7, 1994 the Hutu population was infused with hate instigated by radicals who believed the Tutsi were inferior. one million people were murdered with machete's and clubs in 10o days. Women were raped, became infected with diseases, and even gave birth to the children of their attackers.

  • July, 1994 The Rawandan Patriotic Front, the party fighting against genocide, marched into the capital, Kigali, and take control. We call this the end of the genocide, but the physical, mental, and emotional healing that infected the survivors could last a lifetime.


As Mr. Annan shared with such precision, the other countries of the world offered too little to late, our thoughts and prayers didn't arrive until after a million men, women, and children had been slaughtered. The true weapon of mass destruction in the Genocide committed against the Tutsi People and the Moderate Hutu was a misguided hatred.

Let me be clear, the instigators of the killings were removed from power, and a new president was chosen making a commitment to uniting all the people of Rwanda. But... there were no winners in any country in the world, especially not in Rwanda in 1994. 

The reparations we, as a society of human beings, must make are simple yet agonizing. We must remember what happened and tell those around us - we have to keep sharing until we have an explanation and are ready to follow through with a solution.

... One of humanity’s great failures at the end of the 20th century and one of my personal failures. For the world did not intervene to try to stop the Rwandan genocide and in breathtaking fashion it was over in 90 days
— Bill Clinton, President of the United States 1994