Things are worse in Burundi than reported: An initial estimate about attacks in early December put the death toll at 87, but the UN has said that it was at least 130. And the kind of violence reported is both tribal and deeply horrifying. The AFP:
“The pattern was similar in all cases: security forces allegedly entered the victims’ houses, separated the women from their families, and raped – in some cases gang-raped – them,” [UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein] added.
Police and army forces had also arrested “considerable numbers of young men, many of whom were later tortured, killed or taken to unknown destinations,” Zeid said.
He voiced particular alarm at testimony from residents in various neighbourhoods indicating that the search operations following the December 11 violence had targeted Tutsis in particular.
One woman was told she was being sexually abused because she was Tutsi, and in Bujumbura’s Nyakabiga neighbourhood, a witness claimed Tutsis “were systematically killed, while Hutus were spared,” Zeid’s office said.
In other words, after weeks and weeks of being told that the violence in Burundi wasn’t tribal, we’re now hearing that the security forces are raping and murdering Tutsis because of their identity.
This mix of political correctness and cluelessness on the part of the media makes it hard for readers to understand anything about regional politics. Those in the area aren’t so confused. Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his backers in his country have likely been focused on the ethnic side of the story right from the beginning—and the prospect of more tribal conflict in a neighbor is likely part of the reason why Kagame has blown past his term limit (with, it should be noted, the support of the voters).
The media may now be waking up to the realities in Burundi, but given how long it has taken for that to happen, what WRM noted—when the news about Kagame’s decision to ignore his term limit broke—still rings true:
Nothing is more common among the elite and the cognoscenti than to hear tales about how poorly informed ordinary Americans are about world events. Maybe so, but much of this ignorance reflects the failures of the elite; people who don’t understand the world very well themselves are usually poor at explaining it to others, and too many members of the self-appointed American media and journalistic elite are so immersed in conventional thinking, the globaloney of the Davoisie and pious human rights fantasies that millions of their fellow citizens no longer pay attention to anything they have to say.