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What People Are Saying in Burundi

April 22, 1995

Comments by people in Burundi:

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``This is a very unstable country and the more we talk about genocide, the more we provoke it. People will think genocide is coming so they had better attack their neighbor before he attacks them.″ _ Ahmedou Ould Abdallah, U.N. special representative.

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``These militias are not created out of thin air. They are essentially political, and there are politicians who fund and direct them.″ _ Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, Burundi’s president.

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``Even the children’s hearts are full of hate.″ _ Emmanuel Ndabarushimana, Protestant minister in Bujumbura.

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``If America comes it will be like another Vietnam. Maybe they will destroy Bujumbura, but they won’t kill us.″ _ Deo Niyonzima, Dominican friar and leader of United Youth for the Defense of Minority Rights.

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``We think there is a genocide that is already in preparation by the Tutsi side.″ _ Emmanuel Mpfayokurera, moderate Hutu member of Parliament.

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``Sometimes I look at people walking on the streets and I wonder how could they suddenly turn into savages and start to kill? I think this cannot happen, but it does.″ _ Gerard Mfuranzima, diretor of Radio Burundi.

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``Punishment isn’t the real solution to the problem of Burundi. Both sides have people who have killed and killed and killed. The way forward is to invite people to forgive.″ _ Simon Ntamwana, Roman Catholic bishop of Bujumbura.

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``The real problem isn’t the power of extremists. It’s the weakness of moderates who are afraid to denounce violence.″ _ Pierre Buyoya, Burundi’s former military ruler.

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