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Henri Boyi on Stopping Genocide

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Henri Boyi on Stopping Genocide


Burundi -- History.


Oral history video clip featuring Henri Boyi, a Professor at University of Western Ontario. This video was originally produced by Media Entertainment, Inc., for the 2000 documentary The Genocide Factor.


Media Entertainment, Inc.


Genocide Factor Collection, Oral History Program, Tampa Library,
University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.


Tampa, Fla. : University of South Florida Tampa Library.




Boyi, Henri


Tape number: 4049C


video / mp4




Oral History



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Kennedy, Michael


Boyi, Henri


That's a hard one. That's a hard one. I think that--I really still think that a country like Burundi can recover peace. Hutus and Tutsis can live peacefully again, as they did for hundreds of years. Hutus and Tutsis need--in Burundi, particularly, need good, strong, honest leadership. Frankly, I believe it's possible. It's possible for Burundians to live in peace, and again to stop that threat of genocide. And there are lots of people today, a lot of people, Tutsis and Hutus, who are really crying for that peaceful moment. But yet, there are people inside the country--again, those in politics: those who hold political positions, the so-called leaders--who are not going to allow this to happen. There are also other people outside, outside the country, particularly those again who are taking advantage of the situation, who are sending arms and more arms and more arms; and others who--say a country like Tanzania, for instance, the so-called mediator who's been mediating for peace among the Hutus and Tutsis in Burundi, the former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere, who is supposed to mediate and reconcile Hutus and Tutsis, who has been getting a lot of money from everywhere in the world, and who had promised that he would reconcile the two peoples in three months. It's been more than thirteen months now, and he has not done anything. And we understand--some of us understand that he's getting too much money. He's getting too much money. His country is getting a lot of money and a lot of attention, and his negotiations that he facilitates in Arusha, in his country, have not brought anything, anything, whereas actually some attempts for internal negotiations have brought fruits. That's why I say there are lots of people who want peace in Burundi, a lot of people. There are a lot of people who are tired of this violence. Every single Hutu or Tutsi in Burundi has lost somebody, has lost a lot of people; I mean, family members. So unless we look at some of these leaders, again, who can do anything just to hold on their political power--the common people, the average person, the peasant, the average educated person, they all want peace, Hutus and Tutsis. And they know they can live peacefully together, because they have done that for hundreds of years. But it's going to be still difficult, because again, those who are fighting--the armed groups are being sponsored by countries and other institutions, foreign countries. The mediators, the so-called mediator, has no reason to stop his job that gives him millions of dollars and that puts his country out there as a mediating country. Too many privileges--material privileges, unfortunately--that most African leaders cry for and that they get honestly or dishonestly, all those factors that will make peace difficult. If it were left for Burundians now, the majority of the population today would say, "We are for peace no matter what." But it's going to be difficult. Again, the leaders are there, and they want to lead and they look at their own selfish interests. The so-called leaders from African nations who are showing that they are really concerned, I don't believe in their trueness in terms of their solving--in terms of solving the problems in Burundi. We have decried many times the role of Tanzania and the mediator in the conflict of Burundi. We have decried that; we have written to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Lots of organizations, human rights organizations, have decried that this is a continuation, a way to continue the genocide, the genocide ideology. And again, looks like Burundi doesn't show too many interests for people to act. You know, we don't have oil; we don't have gold or diamonds or anything. It's a poor country. We don't even have wood, not the precious wood that people would want to get from there. So we have nothing really to offer anybody to show serious concern and solve the problem. I don't see, for instance, why countries, rich countries, are still giving money again to Tanzania to solve problems in Burundi--when they know that again, for more than five years, people are dying from starvation and diseases in refugee camps inside and outside the country--instead of helping the institutions of Burundians who are willing to solve the problems themselves. So, again, I'm a little bit pessimistic on that side.

Original Format

Beta tape




Media Entertainment, Inc., “Henri Boyi on Stopping Genocide,” USF Library Special & Digital Collections Exhibits, accessed October 22, 2020,