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Politics and Violence in Burundi


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Table of Contents

Introduction: talking politics and watching the border prologue, 1796-1959: people of the land; Part I. 1959-1961: 'To See the Son of a King': 1. Ukuri ni kumwe: talking truth; 2. Ibigendajoro: rebels in the name of the king; Part II. 1961-1967: 'A Most Total Anarchy': 3. Abanyabihuha: talking loyalty; 4. Ukuri n'ubutungane: the fate of the Bourgmestres; Part III. 1968-1972: 'Please Send Me a Car to Take Them Away': 5. Politiques bw'insaku: talking vigilance; 6. Couper tout ce qui depasse: truth and violence; Conclusion: the Court of Baribuka; Bibliography.

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Reveals the neglected history of decolonisation and violence in Burundi through the political language of truth, citizenship and violence.

About the Author

Aidan Russell is Associate Professor of International History at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. He is the author of articles in Africa, The International Journal of African Historical Studies and the Journal of Eastern African Studies. He is the editor of Truth, Silence and Violence in Emerging States: Histories of the Unspoken (2018).


'Aidan Russell has written a powerful and disturbing study of how struggles over power and a government's claim to monopolise truth led to the ethnicisation of politics and to violence in a newly independent country.' Frederick Cooper, New York University
'Path-breaking, erudite and meticulously researched, this stands as an impressive achievement. No other work has done more to explicate the paradoxes, subtleties and brutalities of Burundi's tragic history. Few analysts have shown a deeper understanding of the relationship of language (Kirundi) to popular perceptions of truth, and ultimately to politics, than Aidan Russell in this outstanding contribution. I cannot recommend it too highly to anyone seriously interested in making sense of Burundi politics.' Rene Lemarchand, Professor Emeritus, University of Florida
'This book reveals the power and potential of national history as Russell puts language at the center of African politics. Violence and truth, speech and borders, lies and citizenship constitute the history of Burundi after 1962, and they remain in constant tension with every memory and speech about the postcolony.' Luise White, Professor Emerita, University of Florida

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