by Ashley Wright
(questions for elementary come from the bold sentences)
There is a proverb in Burundi: “in a court of fowls, the cockroach never wins his case.” It speaks about the political injustice and corruption that is often prominent in developing African countries. According to the BBC’s country profile, “Burundi… [is] one of the world’s poorest nations, [and] is struggling to emerge from a 12-year, ethnic-based civil war.” If you know anything about the genocide in Rwanda and the fighting between the Hutus and the Tutsis, then you have a good idea about what happened in Burundi during that era as well. (In fact, Burundi shares a border with Rwanda.) The BBC estimates that 300,000 people died. The civil war in which the country was embroiled ended about seven years ago.
While on a map of Africa Burundi looks tiny, it is roughly the same size as West Virginia or North Carolina. It is ranked by Transparency International as one of the 20 most corrupt countries in the world.
(If you want to learn more about corruption in the developing world, you can watch this 2-minute video: http://www.transparency.org/cpi2011/in_detail) Burundi is also consistently ranked as the fourth or fifth poorest country in Africa.
Despite this depressing reality, Burundi has been slowly improving. In just two years, Burundi moved from being the 5th most corrupt to the 20th in the world. Burundi’s new president, Pierre Nkurunziza has won numerous awards for his leadership. Hopefully, Burundi will continue to grow and the cockroaches will receive justice in the courts.