During the Rwandan genocide of 1994, Hutu extremists who launched a propaganda campaign to demonize Rwandan Tutsis, accusing them of planning to exterminate Hutus. Embracing the propaganda, gangs of Hutus went on a killing rampage, rooming the streets and ravaging Tutsis who fell prey to their assaults. Yet, the framing of Hutus as perpetrators cannot capture the work of those Hutus who actively offered assistance to Tutsis. These Hutus provided safe haven, essential material goods and emotional support to an unknown number of Tutsis. Why did these Hutus risk their lives to save Tutsis? In addressing this question, we provide the results of a study in which a small number of Hutu explained their actions. In a clear case of altruism, their efforts arose from their moral obligation to others, an obligation that centers on their good heart. A good heart is a physical embodiment of their wisdom to discover the righteous path, compassion for the suffering of others, and courage to overcome the fear in of their own suffering in carrying out the commands of their faith.
Rothbart, Daniel and Cooley, Jessica
"Hutus Aiding Tutsis during the Rwandan Genocide: Motives, Meanings and Morals,"
Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal:
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/gsp/vol10/iss2/8
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