The Psychology Of Etnopolitical Warfare Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:06:56
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The conflict that I selected is the Rwanda genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus from April to July 1994 which resulted in the estimated death of a million individuals by the Interahamwe and the Impuzamugambi militias (Onstad, 2005).

2. Discuss the role of SUPERIORITY in promoting conflict in this case. This may include perceptions of a sense of entitlement to resources, chosen-ness or special destiny, or moral superiority.

Based on Eidelson and Eidelson (2003), superiority contributed to the conflict by reinforcing the predominance of one ethnic groups among each other in Rwanda. This created social exclusion and resentment among groups that were precluded from political power in previous regimes. Moreover, it justified the ethnic cleansing promoted by the Interahamwe and the Impuzamugambi against the Tutsis and moderate Hutus

3. Discuss the role of INJUSTICE in promoting conflict in this case. This may include perceptions of past mistreatment or innocent victimization.

The idea of injustice was central to the persecution of Tutsis, considered to be essentially foreigners and colonial sympathizers, who were previously the political heads of the Rwanda. Whereas the inclusion of moderate Hutus was justified by their lack of sympathy to the militias which was interpreted as supporting the Tutsis or a denial of the perceived injustice done by Tutsi leaders against other native minorities in Rwanda

Among those supporting the genocide, the belief was that eliminating Tutsis was also motivated by the need to prevent their rise to power once more and thus marginalizing native Rwandans once more. However, amongst the public who rallied behind the militias, their participation in the genocide was also motivated by fears that non-participation would be interpreted to be against the militias and thus suffering violence themselves

5. Discuss the role of DISTRUST in promoting conflict in this case. This may include perceptions of the other group as untrustworthy or dishonest.

Ethnic groups in Rwanda surprisingly had little interaction with each other prior to its independence. Thus, there was limited understanding between ethnic groups which in turn encouraged distrust among groups and created vulnerabilities for conflict which have been credited with the initiation of violence

6. Discuss the role of HELPLESSNESS in promoting conflict in this case. This may include perceptions of powerlessness or dependency.

On the part of the extremists, they believe that the militias actions was the only viable action since they perceived that the government will continually be dominated by traditional politicians and the economy by foreign-backed industries. All of which were greatly associated with the Tutsi groups.

7. Do you think it is possible to change group beliefs that promote conflict? Explain your answer by citing information on UNIVERSAL INTERACTION from chapter 11 of our textbook..

By developing opportunities for dialogue, collaboration and cooperation, groups can be able to practice universal interaction which will allow better communication, management of conflicts and development of resolutions. As discussed in Eidelson and Eidelson, by establishing such channels, manipulation of conflicts or socio-cultural discrepancies will resolved through assimilation or accommodation thus preventing the need for extreme action.


Eidelson, R. J., & Eidelson, J. I. (2003). Dangerous ideas: Five beliefs that propel groups toward conflict. American Psychologist, 58, 182-192..

Onstad, Katrina (2005). Filming the Unfilmable: The challenge of the genocide movie. Retrieved June 15, 2008, from

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