defined by the American Heritage dictionary, genocide is the systematic killing
of an entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group. In April of 1994, over a course of
about 100 days, Hutu militias killed over 800,000 Tutsis in Rwanda. In a monologue
author Tom Flannery begins with an introduction that generates a
genuine concern for the people of Rwanda. He expresses that the inspiration for his play
came from a book about Rwanda that his friend forced him to read. This single novel
sparked him to educate himself about the history and events in Rwanda during the 20
century. (Flannery,3) With this, he created a work that represented the voices of the
people who were caught in such horrendous conditions. The Hutu-Tutsi conflict has
many perspectives about how it originated and whom the genocide involved the most.
Depending on how they were affected, the killers, the victims and witnesses, each held a
different viewpoint and experience during the ongoing struggle between the Hutu and
Tutsi tribes of Rwanda.
The country of Rwanda is situated in central Africa, bordered by Uganda and
Burundi. For hundreds of years, the three groups that have inhabited Rwanda are the
Hutu, Tutsi and Twa tribes. The Twa tribe, also known as the pygmies, was the earliest
residents but currently account for about one percent of the nation’s population. The
Hutus are the majority in Rwanda, with about 85% of the population, while the Tutsi
make up 14% of the nation’s population. About 95% of Rwandans are Christian (more
than half are Roman Catholic), 4.6% are Muslim and a small percentage practice
indigenous beliefs (Chege,570). While there is a freedom in religious practice in Rwanda,
ethnic origin is the cause of warfare and chaos caused families to lose their homes,
possessions and most of all, many relatives.