The Abatwa (Pygmies): Challenges for a New Rwanda


The video examined the genocide in Rwanda, and how people heal from a horror like that.

This piece looks at the Abatwa people, better known in the US as the Pygmies. The Abatwa, who are the indigenous people of the region, have suffered unspeakably and unnoticed by all except themselves.

Traditional hunters, they were kicked off their ancestral lands when that area was made into an animal preserve. The unintended consequence of an environmental victory was great destruction to Abatwa culture, and the loss of many lives.

Later, during the period of the Rwandan genocide, they lost 30% of their population. Nobody noticed because the Abatwa were not important to anybody but themselves.

The Abatwa are an example of the phenomenon feared by Subcomandante Marcos and the indigenous communities of the Chiapas region of Mexico, that of being so marginalized as a people that you just don’t matter any more.


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