Political Violence is as Concerning as Genocide

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When President of the Burundian Senate Révérien Ndikuriyo reportedly said this fall, “on this issue, you have to pulverize, you have to exterminate – these people are only good for dying. I give you this order, go!” parallels were immediately drawn to 1994 Rwanda, where targeted Tutsis were referred to as cockroaches. Amid the recent assassinations and photos of bodies strewn across the streets of Bujumbura, such rhetoric from an elite politician is chilling.

Among those making direct comparisons between the current Burundian crisis and the 1994 genocide was Rwandan President Paul Kagame. In a November speech, Kagame lamented to a crowd in Kigali that Burundi “should have learned the lesson of our history.” The lessons of the Rwandan genocide should certainly be brought to bear in instances of ethnic violence.

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