Ethnic Hatred or Overcrowding, Is Either One Correct?

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Ethnic Hatred or Overcrowding, Is either One Correct?

In the article Malthus in Africa: Rwanda’s Genocide, Diamond claims that different factors contributed to Rwanda’s genocide, however the one which he considers to be must fundamental, is that of population pressure. He uses Malthus scenario as a framework for his argument, with different statistics and quotes used to back it up. As well as creating this model he places counter claims to the theory that Rwanda’s genocide occurred due to “ethnic hatred”.

To begin with Diamond talks about the “Malthusian Model”, this theory created by Thomas Malthus is the idea that population growth will exceed that of food production. As whilst food production may increase a population will expand so as to consume all available resources. It is here that Diamond first brings up the idea that “Rwanda illustrates a case were Malthus’s worst-case scenario does seem to have been right” (Diamond, 2005, 313). Diamond then moves on to Rwanda’s statistics and history. It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, and the body count that occurred due to the genocide is the third largest in the world. There are two main groups living in Rwanda, the Hutu who make up 85% of the population and the Tutsi, 15%. Arguments have been made both supporting and dispelling the idea that these two groups actually have the same decedents and look the same as one another, hence making the ability to tell them apart impossible, until it was declared that nametags were to be worn by all.

Diamond then places his counter argument, stating that the genocide could not be completely due to ethnic hatred. His first claim was, that up until April the 6th when the plane carrying Rwandan President Habyarimana was shot down Hutu and Tutsi were living next to each other with little distinction between them, “about one-quarter of all Rwandans have both Hutu and Tutsi among their great-grandparents” (Diamond, 2005, 318). The second argument...