A cloud descends. A curtain drops. The lights go out. It was seen in the horrors of Babylonian and Roman persecutions and in Nazi Germany and in Cambodia and Ukraine under the Communists and most recently in Rwanda, where the most intense genocide in history occurred in 1994. To read about this epidemic of darkness is to delve into a completely riveting story that defies normal human understanding. In less than a year, up to a million were left dead.
In house after house, village after village, town after town, tribal Tutsis were butchered without mercy by rival Hutus who dismembered and decapitated them with machetes in the most sadistic massacre with which modern history is familiar. In many cases, Hutus turned on Tutsis who were friends and neighbors and virtually indistinguishable from them -- sharing the same culture, religions, and many genetic traits. It wasn't even a clear ethnic dispute -- just an outbreak of the unthinkable.
Corpses lined the roads of Rwanda to the point where many expected the Hutus to kill every last Tutsi. The killers -- former childhood friends or schoolteachers and town officials who were now simply part of a killing mob -- wielded spears and guns and machetes and chanted, "Kill them, kill them, kill them all; kill them big and kill them small; kill the old and kill the young; a baby snake is still a snake; kill it too; let none escape; kill them, kill them, kill them all!" Some dressed like demons, wearing tree-bark skirts and goat horns strapped to their heads.