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Dan Snow's History Hit

Rwandan Genocide Explained

Ep. 1425

Warning: This episode contains some upsetting descriptions of human suffering.


The Rwandan Genocide is a dark and pivotal moment in modern history; the catastrophic consequence of ethnic division and global inaction. Over 100 days in 1994, it's estimated around 800,000 predominantly Tutsi people were killed by the Hutu government and civilian militiamen. The groundwork for the atrocities had been laid decades earlier by the colonial Belgian powers that controlled Rwanda and sowed the seeds of division into the fabric of the country.


Dan is joined by Dr Scott Straus, a professor of Political Science at UC Berkeley who unpacks the events and years that led up to the genocide as well as the inaction from the international community during it. Dan also hears from survivor Beatha Uwazaninka who was just a teenager when her entire family were killed and describes how neighbours turned on neighbours as she struggled to evade capture herself. Together they explain how and why the genocide happened and what lessons we should learn from it.


Produced by Mariana Des Forges and edited by Dougal Patmore.


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