Mises Wire

Revisiting that Rwanda Slaughter

Tonight at the Acton University, I heard a lecture by Immaculée Ilibagiza, a Tutsi refugee from the Rwandan slaughter from 1994, when tribal genocide left some one million people dead. In particular, it was the Hutus who were killing the Tutsis and certainly she was among the targets. She survived by living 91 days in a tiny bathroom, hiding with other women, emerging weighing 65 pounds to hear news that her entire family had been hacked to death. By now, she is rather famous, having been interviewed on 60 Minutes, CNN, and many other places.

As Rothbard has noted, the whole conflict between the two groups stems from the absurdity of colonial borders forcing these two groups to live under one state in which domination of one by the other is an inevitable. What I had not realized until tonight is the extent to which the Hutu government had actually promoted and even ordered the mass death of the Tutsis, in radio broadcasts following the death of the Hutu president. In other words, the genocide had been legally condoned and promoted. In some sense, why should anyone be surprised to see the hand of the state active in such bloodshed? The state, far from promoting a peaceful world that would otherwise be a Hobbesian nightmare, actual promoted a nightmare that Hobbes himself would not have believed.

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