Burundi: Belgium has a great historical responsibility in the killings and genocides in the region of the great lakes (Third part).

Burundi & Belgium

Burundi: Belgium has a great historical responsibility in the killings and genocides in the region of the great lakes (Third part).
We said it and we will never stop saying it. The origin of the hatred of the Hutus towards the Tutsis comes from the Belgian colonization which upset the existing order to establish an administration which is favourable to them. But above all, these sentences contained in the administrative reports of Belgian agents such as that of JM Detscheid, Territorial Administrator in Bururi in 1929, who affirms: « It is certain that the Batutsi are more intelligent, equally indifferent, more brutal and more energetic than the Bahutu; their authority comes a lot from these qualities and even from these flaws … Placing an « intelligent » Muhutu at the head of a chiefdom is always risky in advance. « . Pierre Ryckmans, Resident of Urundi adds: “The Batutsi were destined to reign, their presence already ensures them, over the inferior races around them; considerable prestige; their qualities and even their faults further enhance them (…). They are extremely smart, judge people with infallible certainty; move in the plot as in their natural element. Proud with it, distant, in control, seldom letting themselves be blinded by anger, dismissing all familiarity, numb to pity and a conscience that scruples never torment. No wonder the brave Bahutu, less clever, simpler, allowed them to be enslaved without making a gesture of revolt. « 
It was not out of love that the Belgians said that, far from it. It was a way of training each other so that, from this disagreement, they found facilities to govern them because they knew in advance that with the organization they found there, if they would stay united, there was no way to stay there for long.
The guardianship regime therefore took hold. Historians tell us that after the Second World War, the League of Nations was replaced by the United Nations, whose existence officially began in 1946. The administration of Ruanda-Urundi was entrusted to Belgium by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 13, 1946. Belgium’s mission was to « promote the political, economic and social progress of the populations as well as the development of their education, also to promote their progressive evolution towards the capacity to administer themselves. « . The United Nations will organize visiting missions to assess the status of implementation of the United Nations recommendations to promote political, economic and social progress. It is in this context that the tutelary power promulgated the decree of July 14, 1952 which broadens the attributions of the native administration in particular, by extending the powers of the Bamis who had in their competence a certain number of matters reserved for the Belgian administration. . However, economic and social transformations have been realized.
In connection with agriculture, the colonial power helped to fight against erosion, to increase production, notably with the irrigation system, the use of fertilizers, by selecting crops according to the regions. They also introduced cash crops such as coffee, cotton and palm oil. In the breeding, in order to increase productivity, the colonial power introduced new breeds in farms like that of Ruvyironza installed in Mahwa since 1954. The Sahiwal breed from Pakistan for meat and Jersey (from the island of Jersey) for milk. Belgium will help with the construction of the stables, the introduction of the veterinary service for vaccination against cow diseases. Despite these efforts, the two sectors have kept a traditional character because these changes were introduced in a brutal way without consulting the population. In the field of transport and communication, the Belgians forced people to draw roads, which was very painful to the population with the phenomenon of ‘’chicote’’ (beating people). The first road built linked Usumbura to Astrida (in what is now the prefecture of Butare in Rwanda). In 1960, the sections (Bujumbura-Astrida), (Bujumbura-Bukavu) and (Bujumbura-Gitega) were asphalted as were the main streets of Shyangugu, Burare, Kigali. For the waterways, lakes Tanganyika and Kivu were used as a support for navigation which was in the hands of the ‘’Compagnie des Chemins de Fer du Congo Supérieur et des Grands Lacs’’. Air transport was favoured by the geographical position of the city of Usumbura. In 1937, the first plane coming directly from Belgium landed in Usumbura. In 1960, Usumbura Airport was built in Gakumbu and served as a hub for flights to Chad, Sudan, Nigeria, Egypt, Greece and Belgium. It was capable of receiving D.C. 4 and D.C.6 type aircraft. The airlines Sabena and Sobelair provided various air services between Rwanda and Urundi.
The sectors of commerce, mining and industry have not experienced great developments. Initially, trade was based on exchange, and then the Arabs, Indians and Pakistanis settled in a few centers and introduced the use of currency. Industrial development was linked to energy. The main mining productions were Wolfram, gold, cassiterite and Bastnaesite. At the end of colonization, a few light industries existed in Usumbura. This is the case of the brewery, coffee and cotton processing plants, the textile industry (SIRUCO, LOVINCO) and some chemical industries.
On the social level, the Belgians fought the traditional religion and introduced Catholicism. They first converted the leaders so that the masses would follow automatically. The education system in Belgian Africa was designed to respond to the realities of the moment, that is to say the exploitation of the colonies for the benefit of the metropolis. The school policy insisted on three fundamental objectives: to provide instruction and education to all young people; provide an education that prepares the natives to live in their environment and provide an education that prepares the elite
In the medical field, the colonial administration was mainly engaged in the fight against epidemics, infant mortality and other diseases by setting up a significant health system
We have just reviewed a few areas where Belgian colonization has introduced visible changes, but all while targeting their own interests. Tomorrow we will talk about the beginning of political parties and the search for independence and we will try to shed little light on Belgium’s involvement in the assassination of Prince Louis Rwagasore
URN HITAMWONEZA recognizes that the Belgian colonization has made efforts in the development of certain areas as noted above, but it retains the responsibility of having sowed divisions within the components of Burundian society; Belgium also does not have its hands clean in the gruesome events that followed the country’s independence.

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