Letters - Blame the Belgian colonists

Michela Wrong (28 February) is probably right to say the 1994 Rwandan genocide was due to "a mixture of greed, fear, lust, knee-jerk obedience and sheer passivity".

But she didn't mention the ultimate origin of the genocide. The Hutus' hatred of the Tutsis was the result of 19th-century Belgian colonists dividing the two ethnic groups, which had until then cohabited peacefully for centuries. The Belgians privileged the Tutsis and encouraged the subjugated Hutus' hatred of them. Generations of Hutus grew up with the conviction that the Tutsis were evil, and their women lascivious.

Isabelle Amazon-Brown
Dordogne, France

This article first appeared in the 07 March 2005 issue of the New Statesman, The Bling Bling List