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USF Libraries Exhibits

Contributing Factors to Genocide

Apollinaire Ndayizeye, Burundi Survivor

Okay. The thing that I think that make people so disposed to kill their neighbors has been, first of all, the teachings that they have been receiving during the election campaigns. The ruling party -- the then-ruling party, FRODEBU, which was composed of majority Hutus was -- it has been told and it has been demonstrated that they fought campaign on ethnic basis, telling people to vote for Hutus and not for Tutsis. Therefore, the people were given some promises that once elected, the Hutus gonna make them live better.

Let me tell you that Burundi is almost at 90 percent rural, with analphabetism -- do you call it analphabetism? Illiteracy rate! Illiteracy rate of around 50 percent. So most of those people who are non-literate are abused, have been abused.

The other factor that might be major is that it is a very poor country. If someone comes and promises you to be rich suddenly after that you kill your neighbor, taking over his house, taking over his job, taking over his whatever they wouldn’t tell them, even wives, then they would kill. Now, why would those politicians, or so-called politicians, would incite them to do so? It's first of all because of the political struggle in order to control, to be able to control the country's resources, which like I told you it's a poor country, so those country's resources are not so great. They are not enough for everyone; only those who are high-ranking or privileged, as you can see. That is the major reason why I think that could happen.