The Rwandan Genocide

A Long Way Gone Research Project

A Long Way Gone is the autobiography of Ishmael Beah, a boy who became a child soldier around the age of 12 during the civil war that broke out in Sierra Leone (1991-2002). Forcibly recruited into the Sierra Leone Army (SLA), Beah both witnessed and took part in the mass murder of civilians. Although Beah’s story is truly horrific, the sad reality is that his story is not all that unique; to this day, child soldiers are continually being recruited in conflicts around the world.
For this unit, you will be researching a conflict of your choice. There are only two requirements in regard to the topic you may choose: first, the conflict must have taken place between 1800 and now; second, the conflict had to have resulted in genocide (meaning it directly led to the mass extermination of a specific group of people). In conducting your research, consider the following questions:

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1. Who are the two sides in this conflict (are there more than two)? What are their respective points of view?
2. How many people died in the course of the conflict? Were these people civilians or soldiers?
3. Is your conflict over? How did it get resolved? If it’s not, what would be a possible solution that could make it end?
4. What was the purpose of the genocide that was committed?
5. Who should be held responsible for the genocide that was carried out during your conflict?

Because it has already been written about so extensively, I am not allowing any research into Hitler or the Holocaust. With that said, everything else is fair game.
The purpose of this assignment is two-fold. First, I want all of you to enhance your research skills through the use of multi-modal research (i.e. not just using the internet). Second, I would like you to gain a greater appreciation of the prevalence of war, the social, political, and economical factors that cause it, and the truly devastating impacts it has on our world.

You will be completing this research in two stages:

Stage 1: Annotated Bibliography In this bibliography you will need to compile at least six sources for your research paper. Of these six sources, only two sources can be websites. The other four must be either books or peer-reviewed journals. We will be going to the library as a class, where you will have the opportunity to search through the school databases (
• For the annotated bibliography, you will need to cite your sources in MLA format (see MLA cheatsheet on Mr. B’s website for help on citations).

Stage 2: Research Paper Based on your research, you will write a 3-4 page paper explaining your conflict as you understand it. The research paper should be a combination of expository and argumentative writing. Once you have adequately described the conflict, the parties involved, and those who were most affected by it (i.e. civilians, other countries, etc.), you need to make a judgment as to who was/is at fault for the conflict (i.e. Hitler and his anti-Semitic views directly led to the Holocaust). You must support this claim with factual evidence from your research.
Here is a list of possible conflicts that you could possibly research:

1. Congo Free State (1885-1908)
2. Armenian Genocide (1915-1923)
3. Holodomor (Ukraine) (1932-1933)
4. Rape of Nanking (1937-1938)
5. Guatemalan Civil War (1960-1996)
6. Indonesian Massacres (1965-1966)
7. Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970)
8. Khmer Rouge (Cambodia) (1975-1979)
9. Red Terror (Ethiopia) (1977-1978)
10. Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992-1995)
11. Rwandan Genocide (1994)
12. Anfal Campaign (Iraq) (1986-1989)
13. Darfur Conflict (2003-2010)

*I am only allowing 5 students/topic/class, as I do not want to read 90 essays about the Rwandan Genocide. Email me your topic as soon as you have decided on it.

Annotated Bibliography rubric:

Ideas 10 points
Conventions 10 points
Format 10 points
30 points

Your annotated bibliography needs to be single-spaced with an MLA heading. 

Final Research Paper rubric:

Ideas/Research 20 points
Organization 10 points
Conventions 10 points
Sentence Fluency 10 points
Format 10 points
60 points

Your research paper needs to be double-spaced in MLA format.

Your research paper needs to be double-spaced in MLA format; it must have a bare minimum of 5 paragraphs and 6 quotes (2 quotes/body paragraph). You must use at least one quote from all of your sources. For more information on The Rwandan Genocide visit this:

The Rwandan Genocide

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