Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Strength in What Remains

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Strength in What Remains

A journey of remembrance and forgiveness

by Tracy Kidder

Strength in What Remains
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2009, 304 pages
    May 2010, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading

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Beyond the Book

The Burundian Genocide
The 1993 Burundian genocide (which preceded the 1994 genocide in Rwanda) traces back to the end of Belgian colonial rule in the 1950s and 1960s and the first Berudian genocide of 1972. Burundian history fits, like interlocking puzzle pieces, with that of its northern neighbor, Rwanda (map of Central Africa).

Like in Rwanda, Hutus make up about 86% of the population in Burundi, with only about 13% Tutsis (the remaining 1% are Twa pygmies). Unlike in Rwanda, where the Hutu majority took power, the small Tutsi elite in Burundi held onto government and military positions after independence. In April 1972, there was a bloody Hutu uprising which prompted an even more grisly retaliation by the Tutsi military. The Tutsis systematically killed Hutu intellectuals, politicians, and professionals as well as the insurgents. Estimates of the dead vary greatly, but most agree at least 100,000 people were killed, and maybe as many as 300,000.

Many Hutus fled Burundi for ...

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