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Article

History as a Justification for Genocide: the Interpretation of Rwanda's Past by Théoneste Bagosora

The article explores how Rwandan history and its pivotal events are interpreted by Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, one of the chief instigator and mastermind of the 1994 genocide. It argues that this interpretation is shaped entirely by Bagosora’s politicoideological goals and intentions. His approach is based on the binary black-andwhite ethnicized vision of national history and it is tainted by racial and ethnic prejudices. By viewing history in this way, Bagosora tries to justify the mass killing of the Tutsis in April–July 1994 and to absolve himself and other extremist Hutu leaders of responsibility for one of the greatest tragedies in the history of mankind. The historical arguments he developed and systematized have become the basis of all subsequent attempts to deny, minimize or justify the 1994 genocide.