BUJUMBURA June 15th (ABP) – The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR) organized on Wednesday, June 14, 2023 in Bujumbura, a conference for parliamentarians, executives in the Office of the President of the Republic, representatives of the diplomatic and consular corps accredited to Bujumbura, around the theme: “Knowledge of historical and cultural truth for true peace and reconciliation in Burundi.”
In his presentation, the speaker of the day, Prof. Jean Bosco Manirambona, first recalled that old Burundi or before colonization (1928-1930) was spared from ethnic identities. At the level of the royal court, there were Burundians of various clan affiliations (such as the Benengwe, Bashubi, the Bajiji, the Bahanza, and others) and Burundian society was harmonious, less divided, less conflictual.
It was with the 1940s that the normative texts of Belgium created social class and ethnic barriers between Burundian citizens to sow hatred and division while associating physical traits with ethnic traits.
Mr. Manirambona also pointed out that all the books on the history of Burundi that we use today were written by the colonizers.
For that reason, he mentioned the need to rewrite the history of Burundi understood and integrated by all Burundians, explaining that the history that we teach today tends to make Burundians forget that Burundi has known in the past, a story of peace and community cohesion. He took advantage of that opportunity to ask the people of Burundi to save peace, build true reconciliation, and to return to the notion of community cohesion. According to him, “To bequeath a peaceful society to Burundian children, we must instill in them the notion of belonging to the Burundian nation shared by all Burundians.”
The Chair of the CVR, Ambassador Pierre Claver Ndayicariye, first invited participants to read Amin Maalouf’s book entitled “The murderous identities”, a document which shows how conflicts arise from ethnic, social, clan and other categories of identities. He took the opportunity to clarify that the investigations and reports of the CVR will contribute to the rewriting of the best shared history, explaining that “Burundians have consumed lies for more than 50 years, and that these lies have killed Burundi”. He invited all Burundians to free themselves from the murderous identities that the colonizers stuck on them. He also called on them to avoid lying, to promote the truth which is the only way to liberate the country.
The participants in the said conference supported the idea of rewriting the history of Burundi so that the history of Burundi, which remains vague, is known, and so that all Burundians have a common vision of the history of Burundi. Those present at the session also supported the idea of eradicating ethnic identities to promote national identity, explaining that ethnic identities are instruments of manipulation that some use for their own interests.
Note that the representatives of religious denominations, political parties, and those of specialized commissions were also present in the conference.