Laura Gordon

Laura Gordon (Survivor Corps in Burundi): Laura worked as an English teacher in Côte d’Ivoire in 2002 and Thailand in 2003. In 2006 she graduated from the University of Oxford with a 1st Class degree in Modern History. After graduating, Laura worked in Uganda as a research intern for the Uganda Human Rights Commission. At the time of her fellowship she was pursuing her master’s degree in International Affairs at The Graduate Institute, Geneva. After her fellowship, Laura wrote: “I'm more comfortable in my skin now, and after a couple of years of wondering where I belong, I'm now sure that it's overseas in the development world. I love Burundi and I'm desperate to go back.”

Burundi Politics update

07 Aug

So a couple of days ago I posted about a political arrest and insults to the Belgian ambassador, and I’ve managed to find out a bit more. Be aware that this is all hearsay as I can’t access the local media as it’s all in Kirundi, so I’m reliant on talking to people and trying to figure it out. It seems that the politician in question was Alexis Sinduhije, who is an opposition politician who will be running for President next year as part of a coalition of several opposition groups, is also a journalist and founder of Radio Publique Africaine, and in 2008 was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people. He is also supported by Bujumbura’s chattering classes, which include most of the Tutsi elite.

The crisis was precipitated when he reported plans by the ruling party to use ethnic violence to benefit them politically. The story may be true; it is plausible, and he claims to be able to prove it (but then, he would say that). But it’s also clear that this story will benefit him politically, and there is talk of someone filing a complaint against him. I honestly have no idea, but either way I would question the wisdom of broadcasting it – given the delicate state of Burundi’s ethnic relationships, it could stir up genuinely spontaneous violence from one side or the other, which is why I’m not recording the details. Having said that though, Sinduhije has a very strong record when it comes to ethnic issues – his radio station came into being as a way to disseminate non-ethnic news – and it seems unlikely that he would have made this up or broadcast it lightly.

Anyway, Sinduhije is not in gaol, as he refused to leave his house and the police weren’t stupid enough to kill him, so he was able to face them down and the government now claim it was for his protection. But it’s not a good sign and indicates that the election next year may be neither fair nor peaceful.

Posted By Laura Gordon

Posted Aug 7th, 2009

1 Comment

  • Ntituzovybagira

    December 9, 2009


    Dear Laura,
    I appreciate your work in Burundi but i would like you to write things you know off very well. I was born in Burundi and raised in Burundi. My parents were both Burundians. I left Burundi in the year 2000 because of war. I am currently in New York City. And like you, i am a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree (MBA in Finance).
    After reading your blog, i noticed that you were both biased and had no clue of what you were talking about. Please, try to understand the history of Burundi at least from year 1948 and get documentations on event in 1972, 1991, 1993 until year 2005.
    Otherwise, i advise to leave my country and go back home instead of misleading the world.
    Sorry if my reply is not friendly but i feel like you are really trying hard to do your best. Trying hard doing the wrong thing. Trying hard in errors.

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