When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda

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Princeton University Press, Jan 28, 2020 - History - 392 pages

An incisive look at the causes and consequences of the Rwandan genocide

"When we captured Kigali, we thought we would face criminals in the state; instead, we faced a criminal population." So a political commissar in the Rwanda Patriotic Front reflected after the 1994 massacre of as many as one million Tutsis in Rwanda. Underlying his statement was the realization that, though ordered by a minority of state functionaries, the slaughter was performed by hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens, including judges, doctors, priests, and friends. Rejecting easy explanations of the Rwandan genocide as a mysterious evil force that was bizarrely unleashed, When Victims Become Killers situates the tragedy in its proper context. Mahmood Mamdani coaxes to the surface the historical, geographical, and political forces that made it possible for so many Hutus to turn so brutally on their neighbors. In so doing, Mamdani usefully broadens understandings of citizenship and political identity in postcolonial Africa and provides a direction for preventing similar future tragedies.

 

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Contents

Thinking about Genocide 3
3
Settler
19
The Origins of Hutu and Tutsi
41
The Racialization of the HutuTutsi Difference under
76
The Social Revolution of 1959
103
Redefining Tutsi from Race to Ethnicity
132
Background to
159
The Civil War and the Genocide
185
Tutsi Power in Rwanda and the Citizenship Crisis in Eastern
234
Political Reform after Genocide
264
Notes
283
Bibliography
343
Index
357
Copyright

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About the author (2020)

Mahmood Mamdani is the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government at Columbia University and executive director of the Makerere Institute of Social Research. His many books include Citizen and Subject (Princeton) and Saviors and Survivors (Crown).

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