By Belthrand Habiakare
The ability to celebrate our uniqueness without infringing on the otherness is what freedom entails. The testimony of the 30th June 2018
Joining the rest of the world, where Burundians have resettled including Norway and France, to name, but a few, the Burundian diaspora in Victoria reiterated allegiance to their ancestral heritage once again. Our ancestors held that he, who does not know where he came from, cannot pretend to know where he is going. Therefore, by standing straighter and higher than the “Eiffel Tower” of Paris, Burundians in Victoria patriotically reaffirmed their unfailing commitment to the country they may have physically left, but, to which they are spiritually, and morally attached, Burundi.
Burundi drummers celebrating independence day in Melbourne
Echoing from the most southern state of the Australian mainland, Victoria, the Burundian community loudly and proudly shouted to the skies, the winds, the flora, and the fauna, to awaken all minds to the heroic and patriotic actions of Late His Highness Prince Louis Rwagasore, who fought triumphantly, to free Burundi from the claws of its former metropole, Belgium.
The 56th Independence Day celebration in Melbourne was another occasion to reflect on Burundi and its unforgettable colonial past. It appears this has, since the year 2010, become a tradition in Australia, for the Australian Burundian Community in Victoria to rock and roll in the heart of Melbourne, celebrating this memorable Independence Day.
As usual, the Burundians in Victoria were flanked by a multitude of Australians from all walks of life, including representatives from important partners and organizations such as the Victorian Multicultural Commission, The Multicultural Arts Victoria, and non-Burundian Africans such as those from the Zimbabwean, Sudanese, Rwandan and Congolese communities, to celebrate the 56th Independence Day on Saturday the 30th June 2018. It was an electrifying and mesmerizing cocktail of hilarious dances and drumming concerts, which drew the attention of the guests and onlookers alike and made the celebration spectacularly unprecedented. This ability to celebrate our uniqueness without infringing on the otherness is what freedom entails.
The sigh that followed the declaration of independence in 1962 reconnected the country with its people, like the first cry of an infant that kick-starts the baby’s lungs and stimulates its first breath. An interdependent relationship between an independent Burundi and its sovereign inhabitants, a seed to be nurtured and defended, for it to mature and elevate Burundi to another dimension of genuine democracy and sustainable development had been born. We all are integral parts to that process, and we bear entrenched responsibility relative to aptitude.
Recently, the government of Burundi realized that a country could rightly and confidently proclaim true independence when its people no longer depend on handouts and donations from other countries’ taxpayer’s coffers. In this spirit, Burundians, both inside and outside Burundi have started contributing towards the 2020’s elections. Thumbs up, dear compatriots. Every Burundian should endeavor to make economic and political independence, fundamental features of democracy in Burundi.
We hope that the Burundians all over the world will follow in the steps and contribute ideologically and financially to uplift Burundi to another dimension of sustainable development.
Happy Independence Day to all Burundians. Thanks to Australia, its people, and all countries where freedom is an incontrovertible right.