The Past

I was young when the Rwandan genocide happened. All I remember was my parents talk of bodies floating on the lake Victoria and crocodiles eating parts of them. And a few years later, watching Hotel Rwanda, I realized the atrocity and savagery that happened in Rwanda, and now, as the country blossoms, we can’t help but feel that the scars have started to heal.

I was not born yet when Idi Amin and his state bureau terrorized my beloved country. Again, all I heard were stories and read a few snippets. There have been movies made about him, and how he kept the heads of his said victims in his fridge.

The greatest quote I’ve read and I will try and paraphrase it on here is that, ‘the greatest scourge that has happened to man is not disease or Mother Nature, but the animosity and ferocity man manifests on fellow man.’ I see stories on what’s happening to Burundi, and I shudder because not long ago, my friends and I were planning an excursion to Bujumbura where tales of tall light skinned beautiful goddesses reside. It’s disheartening to see corpses littered around the streets, empty streets, wailing children, and an East African community that is oblivious to the situation.

I cry deep inside of the many futures cut short, the happiness that’s been snuffed out of families, and an oblivious nation. Next year’s elections are around the corner and my heart is racing. Shall we be safe? Will my family be safe? Shall other nations be oblivious? Shall history repeat itself?

The sad part is the stories that are cropping up…in essence, the only President who has spoken about the Burundi Crisis is Paul Kagame of Rwanda, whose country is taking in as many refugees who are being accused of being rebels to the nation of Burundi. The Ugandan President supports the third term which the Burundian Pierre Nkuruzinza is trying to get and where the violence stemmed from, and apparently asked for $2.5 million to help resolve this situation. The Kenyan and Tanzanian presidents who can do something are not and have failed to do something. It’s chaos in the East African region.

It’s disheartening that this Christmas, as the world celebrates the holiday, some people in Bujumbura – Burundi will wish that what’s happening to them is a dream. We as Africa cannot keep silent about the Burundi Crisis. I stand with my fellow brothers and sisters. I am an Umurundi.

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