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#Burundi diaspora| Are you Hutu or Tutsi?

By Miss Pilipili / Published on Tuesday, 10 Jan 2017 13:15 PM / / 1290 views
How Tutsi, Hutu and Twa were “historically” perceived./ Source unknown.

Are you Hutu or Tutsi?  (Twas are usually forgotten, poor souls.)

I’ve never heard a Burundian asking another one that question directly (let me know if you have). It’s kind of an unspoken rule.  Although the question might never be asked out loud, it  certainly permeates most Burundians’ thoughts. Sometimes we don’t need to wonder because we know the family (specifically the dad as he is the one who “determines” your “ethnicity”). But when exact lineage is unknown, we instinctively gauge the fellow Burundian by certain physical attributes (which can be totally misleading as most people know).

However, on occasion, a non-Burundian who has heard about the ongoing crisis in Burundi, dares to ask the dreaded question!  Many Burundians have shared that they are reluctant to answer that question, and not necessarily because they are ashamed of who they are.  The fact is, revealing you are Hutu, Tutsi or Twa, puts you in a certain category depending on which version of our twisted history one  has heard. In some accounts the Tutsis are the evil ones and the Hutus are the victims, in others versions it’s vice versa (not sure of the Twas’ version).

But as Nishelo blogger wrote so candidly, “whether (you were told) you’re Tutsi or Hutu, you’re neither inherently evil nor a victim. You’re just You! An individual, a human being.” And as human beings, we all have good and bad in us.

The reality is, everybody has suffered and experienced loss. So there’s no point in  demonizing one another. To quote Nishelo again, ” we (Hutus and Tutsis) don’t necessarily have to love each other, but we should at least be able to get along well enough not to destroy our country.” Unfortunately, it might be too late for some to change their perceptions, but there’s still time to change the narrative  for our children.

Read full Nishelo blog: http://nishelo.blogspot.com/?view=classic

 

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