Monday, September 20, 2004

It is quite incredible how the books I have found on Africa concern revolution and the struggle for independence. A theme that I am very interested in. Yesterday in the Famine Relief bookshop in Portstewart I found a book on Rwanda and Burundi published in 1970 but it promises to be a very interesting read.
Rwanda and Burundi had both reached independence and being close together and very similar the question was - why did Rwanda see scenes of incredible violence whilst Burundi remained relatively stable. Of course, we know now that Burundi saw levels of violence similar to Rwanda after the book was published but the ideas that the author suggests are interesting.
One insight that I have gained already is that the Tutsis were the minor dominant group while the Hutus were the majority group but felt themselves to be not as superior to the Hutus. The author suggests that although not rigidly certain, tribes can be seen as similar to classes or castes. Once you see the Tutsis as the Upper class then I think the tribal system becomes understandable. I myself have difficulty with the concept of tribes, I've just never understood them before but this book helps a great deal.

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