This book is divided into 8 chapters, which range from the themes of identity to genocide and towards the body politic. Mahmood Mamdani. . I found this book more difficult to start to read than others on the topic, as it is written by an academic rather than a journalist. Welcome back. But the bifurcated nature of post-colonial Rwandan citizenship meant that though all Rwandans were entitled to civic citizenship only Hutu were entitled to ‘Customary’ citizenship. Mamdani aims to make the Rwandan genocide “thinkable.” He does so by making many distinctions for his reader: distinctions between direct and indirect colonial rule (Rwanda is a “halfway house” between the two, neither one nor the other), between cultural and political identity (Hutu and Tutsi were political identities institutionalized by colonialism), distinctions between racialization and ethnicization (the Hutus and Tutsis were racialized under colonial rule not ethnicized), and distinctions between natives and nonnatives (Hutus were constructed as natives while Tutsis were constructed as nonnative even if colonized, a fact that helped to justify violence against them). Their less than equal status was pre-supposed by the ‘Hamitic Hypothesis’, reinforced by colonial era institutions and reproduced by the post-colonial state. The institutionalization of difference between Tutsi and Hutu under the auspices Rwanda’s colonial administration was extremely thorough. His Rwandan case-study provides powerful evidence that the Tutsis came to be crushed between colonist and native. The economy was in steep decline for a number of reasons: most obviously the world wide slump in commodity prices – which significantly affected Rwandan’s export-based economy (203). Throughout history the essential difference between Hutu and Tutsi has been enshrined in law and reproduced through institutions that always favoured one group over the other. Mamdani says that “by institutionalizing Hutu and Tutsi as political identities in the state, (this) ‘solution’ (would make) permanent the civil war between them” (264). Landlocked and ruggedly mountainous, the so-called Alps of Africa: Rwanda offered little of material value to the European colonialists. The Rwandan genocide is a scar on human history, this book is thoughtful, rigorous and systematically researched and provides a detailed account of the causes of the war and genocide. (Department of Anthropology, 2020) Through this book, ‘When Victims become killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda’, his main objective is “to make the popular agency in the Rwandan Genocide thinkable” (Mamdani, 2002, p. 8) which according to him is not possible without decolonization of the epistemological framework. This question has been asked to understand the large-scale civilian involvement in the Rwandan genocide. Not a book based on personal stories, but rather an informed view of a tragedy too often over-simplified. a book that, unlike any of its kind, holistically encompasses all the underlying factors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The difference becomes binary, not simply in law but in political life” (Mamdani 23) Thus, the creation of polarized political identities creates sharp divisions through a society. He asks several questions along the way and among those which runs throughout this book is: When and how was Hutu made into a native identity and Tutsi into a settler identity? Perhaps one the more brilliant aspects of Mamdani's analysis is the way he utilizes a regional approach. 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. In addition to acquiring the language of their European rulers, the Tutsi were ideologically indoctrinated in the ‘Hamitic Hypothesis’, the myth of their racial superiority that underpinned their privileged status (101). colonialism, nativism, and the genocide in Rwanda. When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda. Rather then finding life in their new countries to their liking most of the Tutsi refugees were confined to refugee camps. 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. These attempts were cut short by the rise of Hutu Power in the early 1990s, culminating in the horrific outbreak of mass killing in April 1994. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001. Yes. Underlying his statement is the realization that, though ordered by a minority of state functionaries, the slaughter was perfor. Several times. 15 November 2007. To see what your friends thought of this book. It took me like half way through the book to understand the reason behind the choice of the title. The course was taught by Thomas Homer-Dixon, who is noted for, among topics, his work on ethnic conflict. [It] would be useful to anyone who is interested in not only knowing more about Rwandan history, but also how such a tragedy could occur in the modern era. The roots and the ideological background of the unconventional colonial governance style in Rwanda were as follows: Following the 1881 Berlin Conference and the subsequent occupation of Rwanda, colonial administrators inherited a society already highly stratified along ethnic and class lines. Steans, Jill. To his merit Mamdani manages to remain objective without losing sight of the tragedy, a fault of some authors, particularly those focused on finding economic interpretations. Through the systemic discrimination of the Hutu by the education system, identification cards and other systems of exclusion, the Tutsi’s were made to feel the naturalness of their superiority. Colonial logic is employed time and time again to allocate privilege to one or some groups at the expense of others. University of Toronto: University College. ( Log Out /  Very informative look at the buildup to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. His uncanny ability to use scholarly methods to cast light on public life is admirable and a model for the rest of us. However, in terms of setting up the historical background so that one begins to understand how the potential for a genocide could even begin to exist, Mamdani does an excellent job. Mamdani is the m. When I read Philip Gourevitch's book over five years ago, I thought that it was the best book to understand Rwanda and the genocide in 1995. The Habyarimana government had re-indigenized the Tutsi minority by giving them rights in the civic sphere. Members: Reviews: Popularity: Average rating: Conversations: 180: None: 107,272 (4.29) None "When we captured Kigali, we thought we would face criminals in the state; instead, we faced a criminal population." Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Does anyone else in the US feel profound discomfort regarding this? Museveni, going against the desire of many in the government sided with preserving the rights of the indigenous ranchers over the non-indigenous Tutsi (182). In 1971, in neighbouring Burundi, the Tutsi elite used the army to carry out genocide against Hutu schoolchildren and intellectuals. 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. This new book by Mahmood Mamdani, one of the world's most respected Africa scholars, should be considered as the standard English-language introduction to Rwanda and its genocide. When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda. The displaced Banyarwanda Tutsi hoped that in the aftermath of the civil war they would be given jobs and entitled to citizenship in Uganda. According the bible, the Hamites were descendants of Noah’s son Ham who were cursed with black skin as retribution for Ham’s sinfulness. In the logic of this winner-take-all, ‘kill or be killed’, normative reality – social hierarchies and relations are continuously reproduced which would otherwise be viewed as unacceptable and egregiously unfair and immoral. My one critique would be that Mamdani's argument seems to loosen towards the end, particularly in his coverage of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, making his discussion of the years from 1980-1994 perhaps less precise and a little less adequate than desired. When Victims Become Killers. The Tutsi minority was branded racial strangers in their own land. This event might have sparked reprisals in Rwanda against the Tutsi, similar to the one’s seen a decade earlier, were it not for a military coup that brought in new leadership: The Habyarimana government devoted itself to mending the divide between Hutu and Tutsi within Rwanda.