Kangura No. 30

To Kangura Newspaper

Jean Pascal Barayandema

I am happy with our newspaper. I thank it for having tried to be the spokesman of the voiceless, namely the Hutus and Twas of Burundi. But isn’t it true that in order to achieve long-lasting progress you have to start modestly?

Listen to me. Your goal of being the spokesman of the Hutus from Burundi, be they refugees or those in the country, is in itself worthy of praise. But, as I said earlier, before becoming the spokesman for those who are in Burundi, you should start with those who are close to you. Of late, those in prison at Muhero had to resort to demonstrations. Did you write an article on these demonstrations? Why did you remain silent? Or were you not yet born? Can you tell us how refugees from Burundi are treated in Rwanda and how they have been treated over these past 18 years? Do you ever think of the problems that the children—of these refugees—are faced with in trying to get an education? You will say that these are matters for the U.N.H.C.R. We are well aware of that. Don’t try to fool us because these international organizations sing the song of the host country…

Can we ever hope that the refugees who are flooding in will be better treated this time around, especially now that the situation has changed and the country does not have adequate resources? Another thing you should know is that the people of Burundi who fled their country are also from Burundi and are Hutu just as those who remained there, if there are any You cannot claim that you want to liberate those who are far away from you when you have not yet done so for those who are with you, unless you are pursuing other interests under the pretext of defending the interests of these other Hutu.

Another thing: before being our spokesman beyond the borders, start with your country. Go to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (Miniprisec) and ask why there are special rules which require that refugees from Burundi have no right to promotions or salary increases. Find out whether Miniprisec is not violating international labor laws which require that refugees are treated in the same manner as nationals. If this ministry is breaking the law without knowing, kindly inform it. If it is doing so knowingly, ask why. After that, move on to our liberation because here, just as in Burundi, their intention is to oppress us.

I believe I have said a great deal although I have tried to be brief. In fact, many things surprise us, we the Hutus from Burundi who have found refuge in Rwanda. I dare hope that you will bother to publish this article. If not, I shall immediately understand the reason why and I shall send it elsewhere for publication.

Whatever you decide, I wish to thank you in advance.

A Kangura reader

Jean Pascal Barayandema