Rwanda vs. Burundi

By Razib Khan | July 2, 2011 2:51 pm

Reading Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa. Rwanda looms large in the narrative. Out of curiosity I wanted to use Google Data Explorer to compare Rwanda to Burundi. The two nations are almost mirror images in various demographic statistics (e.g., ratio of Tutsi to Hutu, etc.), with the main difference between that Rwanda experienced a period of populist Hutu domination between the 1960s and the genocide.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Data Analysis
MORE ABOUT: Burundi, Rwanda
  • Ian

    So does this mean that genocide is good to the economy? I suppose it probably shows the impact of foreign aid and investment can have on an economy.

    One of the interesting things is that birth rates in both countries were pretty flat up until the Rwandan genocide (although there’s a huge difference between flat at 6 women per children and flat at 8), and since then has declined sharply in both. If I had to guess, given that population pressure was implicated in creating the conditions for the Rwandan genocide, whether family planning aid was directly to Burundi in an effort to reduce that pressure.

    I wonder whether the fall in life expectancy and the rise of infant mortality was a direct consequence of genocide and Kagame’s invasion, or whether it was more a consequence of losing their educated classes – not just doctors and nurses, but civil servants and administrators.

    And why the crash in primary school completion in both countries from 1995-2000? Recruitment of child soldiers? Loss of caregivers due to HIV? If the latter, what would explain the recovery? Not to mention that primary school completion rates are shockingly low to begin with…

  • http://ecophysio.fieldofscience.com/ EcoPhysioMichelle

    Man, that first graph is disturbing as hell.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    #2, fear of a black planet?

  • Mark

    Regarding Rawanda’s fertility rate, the President has been very proactive in pushing family planning. The government came close to passing a three child policy.

  • Darkseid

    not even close to being as scary as the UN’s projections for Nigeria and Ethiopia for 2050

  • Ian

    Look at the fertility and infant mortality rates – that isn’t natural increase. It’s probably the return of refugees after breakup of Interahamwe-controlled camps in eastern Zaire.

  • Abelard Lindsey

    I read “Dancing in the Glory of Monsters” as well. It gives a good explanation for both wars as well as the fallout that continues to this day. Both wars were driven by the neighboring countries to Congo and the inability of Congo to form a government that is capable of governing its vast territory.

    Most of Sub-Saharan Africa has fertility rates in the 4-5 range. The rest of the world is around 2.5 or lower. Is there fear of a black planet by 2100?

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    un projections say 1/3 i think? i doubt such projections have much merit (i think 2050 is the outside shot of plausibility). would you like to hazard to guess how accurate demographic projections in 1910 were for 2000?

  • http://ecophysio.fieldofscience.com/ EcoPhysioMichelle

    ha ha. No, I meant the huge population dip. Although I suppose a good number of people left Rwanda in addition to those killed.

  • http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/ Maju

    @Michelle: basically graph no.1 says that the so-called ‘genocide’ (actually class democide as Tustsis are not an ethnicity anymore than Brahmins are: they are a class or caste) was not as much as claimed: a population cannot bounce that fast (like a mere heartbeat) and obviously censuses in the time of the war are very inexact and what is surely there is estimates created after the mythology of the ‘genocide’.

    While there was obviously much brutal violence in the war of Rwanda, directed specially against the Tutsi caste of wealthy feudal lords, the figure of a million killed is no doubt an exaggeration to justify the Kagame (Tutsi) dictatorship, promoted by the USA and its local vassal rogue-state of Uganda.

    And that graph no.1 is pretty much evidence of the exaggeration of the “genocide” narrative. Probably 400,000 is a better figure, which comes from projecting the current curve into the past.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    #10, i’d like to see a genetic analysis. many tutsis do seem to look ethiopian, just as their bantu detractors assert. btw, you are aware that brahmins are often quite genetically distinct from non-brahmins in any given local in india, right?

  • noko

    Any one who says Tutsi’s and Hutu’s are not distinct populations has never met them. Granted there has been some admixture among the urban populations, which might confuse some people, they can tell each other apart on sight.

  • http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/ Maju

    @Razib: indeed everyone is aware that the archetypal Tutsi looks more vaguely “Ethiopic” and the archetypal Hutu more standard “Negroid”. Even it is plausible that they have different origins ultimately to at least some extent. But the case is that Hutus make up the 80 or 90% of the population and have been traditionally exploited by Tutsis, an aristocratic minority. So the “Tutsi genocide” was mostly class war ultra-violence in fact, even if there’s maybe some genetic element to it.

    You would not accuse Black South Africans of racism for fighting against White South Africans, or Indian dalits and sudras for fighting against brahmins and ksatriyas, or Guatemalan Mayas for fighting against the mestizo oligarchy? In all these cases there is a caste (rather than class but I’d admit that too) system embedded in ethnic differences. Just because in this particular case both castes have African origin it does not mean that there is no caste/class oppression problem. There is.

    Another point I meant to make was that the figures of the democide, as usual, have been inflated by the winning side, which has exploited the conflict to its advantage. Remember that it was a civil war with class war component and that, while the elites cannot really exterminate their slaves, the slaves have all to win by getting rid of their masters by any means. The genocide narrative, even if partly real is now being used to justify Kagame’s autocratic and Tutsi-dominated regime, a regime that has been very aggressive and disruptive, specially in R.D. Congo, where much of the suffering must be blamed to Uganda’s and Rwanda’s manipulations and occasional direct military intervention. Let’s not forget that the anti-Apartheid bloc of countries (Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe) intervened in Congo against the Rwandan infiltration in what was called the “African world war”.

  • Miguel Madeira

    Tutsis in Rwanda, in 1994, were not a class of feudal overlords for almost 40years.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    You would not accuse Black South Africans of racism for fighting against White South Africans, or Indian dalits and sudras for fighting against brahmins and ksatriyas, or Guatemalan Mayas for fighting against the mestizo oligarchy? In all these cases there is a caste (rather than class but I’d admit that too) system embedded in ethnic differences. Just because in this particular case both castes have African origin it does not mean that there is no caste/class oppression problem. There is.

    what the fuck are you talking about? i’m interested in the genetics. i don’t give a shit about the politics. i’m not accusing anyone of anything. argue politics with other commenters, don’t address it to me. not open for business :-)

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This blog is about evolution, genetics, genomics and their interstices. Please beware that comments are aggressively moderated. Uncivil or churlish comments will likely get you banned immediately, so make any contribution count!

About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com

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