Catholic Peacebuilding Network

Enhancing the study and practice of Catholic peacebuilding

Reconciliation in Burundi

By Daniel Philpott, PhD

Burundi Workshops Focus on Reconciliation

At a mountaintop retreat center overlooking Bujumburu on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, Daniel Philpott, Associate Professor at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame, led workshops on political reconciliation for leaders of Burundi’s Catholic Church.

By Fr. Ntakarutimana Emmanuel, O.P.

Working for Reconciliation in Burundi (PDF document)

This paper offers an explanation for genocide—that it is a function of dehumanizing “the other” and that values are eroded in the process. According to Fr. Emmanuel, “It has been clear before and during the genocide that to kill somebody physically supposed that you have killed his or her humanness beforehand….You continue calling him or her names of animals or insects (like cockroaches in Rwanda). You use media and communication techniques to wipe away all consideration related to humanness so that when time to kill comes people killing will not feel they are killing human beings.”

To learn more about a value reinstatement process for societies after a traumatic experience, go to: Ntakarutimana on trauma healing (PowerPoint Presentation in French)

In addition, David Niyonzima developed a presentation (in Powerpoint) on trauma healing.