A: They all live in the shadows of larger, richer, more powerful neighbouring countries, often get confused with those countries, and really hate it!
The attitude of the Burundians towards their Rwandan neighbours has amused and interested me since I got here. As I blogged in my first post, the two countries have a lot in common, in terms of the same ethnic structure, the same colonial history, and a similar history of ethnic war. However, Burundians are keen to distinguish themselves from Rwanda at every opportunity, drawing favourable comparisons between almost every aspect of Rwandan society and their Burundian equivalents. I find these comparisons very interesting, and hope to blog at more length on this once I’m surer of my ground. But they also amused me, because I couldn’t put my finger on what they reminded me of – until I was watching South Africa vs. New Zealand with Brian:
Brian: Where’s New Zealand? Is it in Australia
Laura (laughs uproariously) : No! And never say that to a New Zealander!
Brian : They don’t like it?
Laura (in a rare moment of brilliance): It’d be a bit like if you told someone you were from Burundi and they asked if it was in Rwanda!
Brian’s look of horror told me that I’d picked the right comparator!
Posted By Laura Gordon
Posted Jun 18th, 2009