WTF Friday, 3/4/11

Zimbabwean man arrested for making harmless comment on Facebook. I’m thinking Facebook arrests should be based on quantity, not content, of posts. These randos from middle school blowin up my news feed know who they are…

Camping trip ’04? You guys have to to upload this album to FB already. It’s been like 7 years, bros…

Charlie Sheen and Sean Penn on their way to Haiti. Mr. Sheen, per usual, with a bizarre choice of words: “And I’m excited as hell because, you know, if I can bring the attention of the world down there, then clearly this tsunami keeps cresting.” Riiight…

Chris Maggio


  1. hey wronging rights,
    i have a question for all you genocide-nerds out there. the common story says that most people people killed in the rwanda genocide were killed with machetes. but recently i have heard that this "fact" is just a myth, in reality the majority of the victims were in fact killed using guns.
    but the idea that people were killed with machetes fits so much better in to the western understanding of africa, as more brutal and amoral type of violence.
    anyone here is able to bring some clarity on the matter?

  2. Hi Anonymous,

    I haven't seen exact numbers, but my understanding is that both small arms and lower-tech weaponry (like machetes) were widely used in the Rwandan genocide. The Hutu government was heavily armed because they were fighting a civil war against the RPF, and were therefore able to supply a number of their supporters with automatic weapons. Given that fact, I'm not sure why the machete has been designated official-weapon-of-the-Rwandan-genocide, but I suspect it may be in part that in 1994, the international community was used to news of civilians being gunned down with AK-47s. Large numbers of innocents being hacked to death by machete was something novel. And as you point out, it may have fit more easily into existing perceptions of Africa as a violent and barbaric place.

  3. Anon here again.
    Again I read in a book that the rwandan genocide was carried out by "machete-wileding extremists" (the book is Sword and Salve. book to i think you would like) without referring to any statistics. so i decided to go to the bottom with this.

    Machetes and Firearms: The Organization of Massacres in Rwanda by Philip Verwimp (Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 43, No. 1 (Jan., 2006), pp. 5-22) is the best source I have found. he has analyzed the statistics of 60 000 killings and found out that only 20-25% were killed with modern weapons. The majority was killed with machetes and clubs.
    and 12 people were killed using a tractor… i dont really understand how that works.

    so if this statistics is true for the rest of the killed the it is safe to say that machetes and clubs were by a great majority the most common tool to kill with.

    so that's that.
    also, thanks for a good blog.

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