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AIU Online Global Impact of Terrorism and Genocide Discussion

AIU Online Global Impact of Terrorism and Genocide Discussion

Question Description


In addition to the psychological impact of terrorism-related violations experienced at an individual level, affected societies may suffer collective trauma which is particularly the case where attacks are targeted against a particular group or community. In such a situation, the sense of group identity and allegiance is heightened, producing collective solidarity, identity and mutual support (Aroche & Coello, 2004). Because of that heightened allegiance, when the group, or members of it, are attacked, it may collectively experience symptoms of psychological trauma (Aroche & Coello, 2004). For example, the 1994 Rwanda genocide in which Tutsis were slaughtered by the Hutus in a terror attack that lasted 100 days. More than 20 years later, the trauma that was caused continues to be felt between the two tribes. As a member of the East African community in the USA, I see the lack of trust between the two tribes. Although they are able to work together, there is a lot of generational trauma that the new generation experiences through their grandparents or parents that makes them carry on their experiences. According to Umutesi (2006), this is something that is probably going to go on for eternity no matter what part of the world the Hutus and Tutsis find themselves, because as history has taught us, somethings cannot be forgotten.

According to Aroche and Coello (2004), manifestations of trauma at a societal level can include varying forms of community dysfunction. Abuses such as torture or ethnically targeted violence may create an order based on imminent pervasive threat, fear, terror, and inhibition, a state of generalized insecurity, terror, lack of confidence, and rupture of the social. For example, according to Umutesi (2006), 20 years after the genocide, the relationship between the Tutsis and the Hutus has never been the same. Even though the two tribes can live amicably together, there is generational trauma that has led to generational mistrust between them extending beyond the borders of Rwanda. With many Rwandese living as refugees in several countries, there is still a significant divide between the two tribes.

Societies that witness the perpetration of atrocities such as war rape and other forms of violence against community and family members may experience severe trauma (Alexander, 2012). Collectively, communities enter into shock, which is compounded by grief for the loss of the victim through either death, the debilitating physical and psychological impact of the violation, or, in the case of rape, familial and community rejection (Alexander, 2012). I lived in Uganda during the Rwanda genocide and I vividly remember the chaos and panic that our country as a whole experienced. Between trying to allow the influx of refuging coming in and ensuring that they had aid, the government also had to think about the safety of Ugandans and how to help those who ere fleeing while trying to ensure that rebels were not ale to get in. There were so many announcements over the radio, tv stations and newspapers asking for people to stay indoors and avoid watching the news because the images were very disturbing. It’s like our government had to cater to two nations needs and that caused a lot of economic strain for a third world country like Uganda. International organizations like the UN, world vision, Oxfam and UNICEF had to come and provide relieve to ensure that everyone’s needs were met.


Alexander, J. (2012). Trauma: A Social Theory. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Aroche, J., and M. J. Coello (2004). “Ethnocultural Considerations in Treatment of Refugees.” In John P. Wilson, and Boris Drozdek, eds. Broken Spirits: The Treatment of Traumatized Asylum Seekers, Refugees, War and Torture Victims. New York: Brunner-Routledge.

Umutesi, M. B. (2006). Is Reconciliation Between Hutus and Tutsis Possible? Journal of International Affairs, 60 (1), 157-171.

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