by Ann Garrison
Burundi’s 1972 Hutu genocide, in which hundreds of thousands of Burundian Hutu people were massacred by the country’s Tutsi army, was commemorated in Burundi on April 30. Commemorations were also held in other parts of the world, including Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada.
Most Western officials have portrayed their Tutsi allies in the African Great Lakes Region as the only victims in the Hutu-Tutsi conflict, so Burundi’s Hutu Genocide is little known in the West. It is estimated that as many as 300,000 Hutus may have died in the massacres of 1972, which began with a Hutu uprising against the Tutsi ruling class in the Burundi’s Rumonge and Makamba Provinces.
Burundi’s demographics are, like Rwanda’s, roughly 86 percent Hutu, 13 percent Tutsi and 1 percent Twa, and the country is now led by a Hutu, President Pierre Nkurunziza. The government is intentionally composed of 60 percent Hutu and 40 percent Tutsi, the army 50 percent Hutu and 50 percent Tutsi, in the hope of easing ethnic tensions and fears.
The Rwandan Genocide of 1994, characterized as a genocide against the Tutsi, is at the heart of the USA’s humanitarian interventionist ideology, whose advocates say we must intervene militarily to “stop the next Holocaust or the next Rwanda.”
Oakland writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Black Agenda Report, Black Star News, Counterpunch and her own website, Ann Garrison, and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, KPFA Evening News, KPFA Flashpoints and for her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. In March 2014 she was awarded the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for promoting peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa through her reporting.