Twenty years ago today, after Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana's plane was shot down as it approached the Kigali airport and the president was killed, the central African country of some seven million people descended into one of the 20th century's worst incidents of mass killing. The country's Hutu majority attacked Rwanda's Tutsi minority with machetes and guns. More than 800,000 died, and the country's very name became synonymous with genocidal brutality and Western indifference.
In the years since, Rwanda has worked to transform itself into a modern, middle-class state, trading violence and murder for clean streets, a strikingly progressive gender balance in its government, and generous education and healthcare systems.
Today, the use of the word "Rwanda" has also become a rallying cry against global inaction in the face of Darfur's genocide and the mass killings taking place in Syria and the Central African Republic. But the promise of "never again" has done little to spur a coherent global response to the human tragedies that have followed Rwanda.
To mark the anniversary of Rwanda's genocide, a singular moment in post-Cold War history, FP has published a full slate of articles. John Norris recalls life in Rwanda immediately after the genocide. Michela Wrong investigates whether the government of Paul Kagame has assassinated several of its critics. John Hudson reports on how lawmakers on Capitol Hill are responding to those accusations. Jonas Claes explores why efforts to prevent mass atrocities remain weak. James Traub reflects on Rwanda's impact on doctrines of humanitarian intervention. Lauren Wolfe describes how the Rwandan genocide has fueled violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Marie Berry argues that the policies that supposedly transformed Rwanda are leaving many women behind.
To make sense of where Rwanda has come from -- and where it may be going -- we've also dug into the FP archives to look at how we've covered the intervening years. Without further ado, here is a selection of gems from FP's archive about Rwanda.
Anna Polonyi, "Confronting Ghosts," France convicts a Rwandan of genocide -- and grapples with its own role in the horrific events of 1994. March 17, 2014.
Daniel Scher and Christine Macaulay, "How Tradition Remade Rwanda," The secret ingredient in Rwanda's efforts to rebuild its nation after the violence of genocide. Jan. 28, 2014
Anjan Sundaram, "Our Man in Kigali," For years, Rwanda's budding dictator, Paul Kagame, has gotten away with murder, while winning praise (and billions of dollars) from the West. But is the blind support for this strongman finally drying up? August 3, 2012.
David Dagan, "The Cleanest Place in Africa," Once synonymous with genocide, Rwanda is now a budding police state. It's also a stunning African success story. Oct. 19, 2011.
Nick Donovan, "The War Criminal Next Door," Why are there 1,000 suspected torturers and génocidaires in America right now? Sept. 9, 2010.
Robert Kreuger, "The Paul Kagame I Know," Rwanda's president fought to end the country's 1994 genocide -- then used it to justify his own awful rule. August 5, 2010.
Elizabeth Dickinson, "Locked Up in Rwanda," An American lawyer is arrested in Kigali for genocide denial. Is it a sign of President Paul Kagame's creeping authoritarianism? June 1, 2010.
Mark Doyle, "Rewriting Rwanda," Twelve years after the genocide, the fight over the historical record -- and who is at fault for the genocide -- has begun. April 25, 2006.
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