Teach them who they really are!

It was a beautiful wednesday, I was sitting in the library with two of my classmates. We were talking about a lab project of decoding DNA. We didn’t look concentrated because I was throwing my jokes as always. We smiled and focused again on our project. After a while I remembered that the bus was leaving in five minutes! I stood up, packed my bag while suddenly two random girls appeared on our table.
They asked if they could talk with us.
‘U am in hurry’ I said.
One replied ‘I am going to use just five minutes of your time’
I acknowledged her courage and boldness. I put my bag on the table and grabbed a sit.
She started talking. By the way she was white, blonde, cute and really smart. Well, I cannot miss to recognize a smart person. She explained about her club and said she was a feminist.
‘Our club is for all the girls who feel they can do something in their society. We empower them…..’
She told us many things but one phrase really caught my attention. ‘en and Women should be equal. Beside that we all know women are superior to men’
I stopped her. ‘Wait, what did u just say?’
I am shocked. She repeated again the same sentence and goes on with her speech on women’s rights. After ten minutes  I remembered another bus was leaving. I took my bag but many questions were still flowing. I didn’t want to miss the bus again. I thanked her and ran to take my bus.

‘She is really smart” I said to myself while lost in my thoughts sitting in the bus. Some people have a gift of convincing. With her bold voice, I am sure she had been recruiting many girls in her club. But she lacked one thing which is the key to a success and a happy life : Don’t ever compare yourself to anyone.
 I went home with a desire. I wanted to know more about feminism history. I wanted to know who started the movement, what were their motivations and goals?

I grew up seeing my mom so involved in some womens clubs. I grew up seeing my grandfather honoring his six daughters exactly the same way he did with his three sons. I grew up seeing my Dad pushing me to learn a lot and to be excellent. I remember one day I worked so bad in school and he took me out. He started telling me how smart I am, how excellent I can be and how he believed in me. I grew up seeing him treating me and my three sisters exactly the same way he was treating my unique brother. I don’t remember being ashamed of who I am. There wasn’t any need to wear masks or be someone else. My parents were already proud of me that’s why I had the freedom to be myself (many have said that I am careless because I rarely care what others think as long as my heart and my beliefs are in peace. But I am not careless, I am simply so confident( A confidence one can call arrogance). I love the glorious mess that I am. I do aspire to be better but I won’t start loving myself  when I will be that perfect image our society has created. Call me selfish! Yes, I love myself so much. 

With years, I got to learn the reality of the world we live in as I was starting to find my way out of the little house I lived in for almost twenty years. No matter how confident, emotionally strong you may be, you will always be affected by your environment. But still you have to choose how deep it can affect you.

Anyways, I was a fan of feminism. Any woman can support the advocacy of womens rights on the ground of political, social and economical. I loved what I knew about feminism, the idea of letting a woman know that she has worth, value and that she can be everything she wanted. The idea of empowerment I had every time I heard the word ‘feminism’ was the reason I called myself sometimes a feminist. Until the day I got to meet some women so called ‘feminists’ who wanted gender supremacy not equality or fairness or justice but power over men. Shocked, I told myself that they have failed their mission the very first day they started comparing themselves to men. ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ one once said. How can you compare an ear and an eye? They all need each other. The absence of the eye may cause the malfunction of the ear. You cannot compare a man and a woman. A man always needs a woman and a woman always needs a man. A man has to be a man and a woman has to be a woman. 

Instead of teaching women how to be like men, instead of pushing women to act like they are superior to men or to demand superiority over men, teach them who they really are. Teach the women to embrace their weaknesses, their strengths. Teach the women to first know their value and what they are capable of. Teach the women to embrace their softness, courage, determination and their boldness. Teach the women to not find their value on how men are labeling them or treating them. Teach them that submission does not mean being a slave. In fact, a man treated like a king will treat you as a queen ( vice versa). Teach the women that they should not compare themselves to anyone. Culture should not define them. We all know how african culture has put women into a box.
If the time some feminists use trying to prove their superiority to men, was used to empower women, to help them embrace their identity. If it was used to tell women that marriage should not define them. If it was used to help women see that they can study and pursue any career they want, their lives will be changed for good. 

I personally do not want to be a man. I love the woman I am (including what I am becoming). Being a girl does not mean being weak or so emotional. There are boys who are extra emotional. I have an uncle who is so emotional by the way and I love how sensitive he is. There are many labels, society and culture gave to girls but deep considered, those labels have nothing to do with gender.
Back in Africa, you can rarely see a MAN (nyenurugo) who cook but the housemaids they have are mostly boys. Isn’t funny?
My point is that everyone should learn about his or her identity. Let us learn who we really are?
What is a woman? Big booty? Big boobs? Beautiful hair? Flawless skin?
What is a man? Rock voice? The heritage he gets from his parents? Or the fact that he was the only boy among many girls?
Who am I? We should all know that before anyone else tell us who we are.
Helping Women to embrace who they really are should be the reason behind ‘Feminism’. Otherwise how can one dare to stand against male supremacy while she dreams of a female dominion?

With Love

Judicaelle

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A text you should read!
Who do you think you are?

This Burundian Life

So here we are, facing the world, hating its systems, loving its people, confused by everything.
Here we are questioning our education, asking ourselves if what we’ve been building through our past will be enough to face the future.
The past comforts us, the present appeases us, and the future scares us.
We were taught to live our own life, to have good grades at school, to honor our parents, to respect our elders, to love our families, to take care of them.
Be the first in everything Son;
Be the example Daughter;
Find your way to the top;
We have to be proud of you! …
We were taught all that with the purpose of having a good, fulfilled life.

The culture, the society and everything pointed, still pointing, without any intention to change focus from THAT, as THE way to THE good life.
And now, we are concentrated…

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May We…

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May we never forget,  death has no chill
May we never forget, how weak we can be
When we will try to prove our strength
May we never forget, we vanish so easily
The body we exfoliate, moisturize, perfume
Wash three times a day and cherish daily
Will decompose regardless of the fortune
We have spent for its radiance

May we never forget, tomorrow
Yes the future, promises nothing
And All we have is now
May we never forget to live the moment
Once is gone, we won’t get it back
May we never forget to study times
For there is a time for everything
And a season for every step we should take

May we never forget  the dreams
The plans, the ideas we have
Somebody had them before
May we never forget there is
Nothing new under the sun
We better trust the one who was and is for forever

May we never cease to learn from our mistakes
May we embrace our flaws
May we acknowledge our weaknesses
May we keep our heart so close to his love
For he makes everything perfect
In his own time

May we choose love, joy and peace
Over our ambitions, goals or desires
May we start loving, really loving
And keep loving
May we be led by compassion
And help the helpless

May we dream more and better
But with an eye and our heart for the present
May we take care of today
For we will not see it again

May we never forget  we only live once….

From my heart to Yours,

Judicaelle

#1212Massacre

There is always a reason behind my pen. It’s either an idea from a discussion or a person who triggered me but often it comes from the depths of my heart.
I tried to write about #1212Massacre the day after. I drafted a lot still gave up. My heart couldn’t pour out the pain. Few days later, I assisted a discussion: Two people were arguing about the number of dead bodies found on that cursed day. One tweeted 87 bodies were found, the other one replied the tweet and said hundreds were found. They argued and got to a point where one said ‘ Nta kintu na kimwe gitangaje mutabonye muri 93′. Trust me, my heart beated so fast when I saw the tweet. I wanted to join the conversation if it wasn’t going to be a waste of time.

What could I have told a person who tweeted 87 dead bodies( that’s the number he acknowledges) is nothing compared to 1993?  I know like nothing about 1993 beside that my family lost their beloved ones. But they are not the only ones. Every murundi has lost someone either before 1993 or after. ‘Amazuru yaragisibije‘:  One day an old man told me. Abatutsi (ubwoko bwatoranijwe nkuko biyita), abahutu ( abisubiza agateka nkuko nabo biyita); I have heard a lot about them. Stories after stories. Revenge after revenge. I cannot make them my best friends if I meet them and they present themselves to me like: ‘Hey, jewe ndi mututsi, ndi nk umuyahudi‘ and the other one ‘hey, jewe ndi muhutu nzorwanira agateka kacu‘ . I would not allow such drama in my life. But None of us was given a choice in the beginning, twabivukiyemwo, tubikuriramwo, tuzobisaziramwo and it affects our lives more than we think. Anyways this is not about ethnic issues.

One month has passed since the day we lost souls, we cannot count. You may tell me ‘Ivyegeranyo vyarasohowe, igitigiri n iki’ but since when people die and we enjoy counting them?
On that night everyone I know did not sleep. We couldn’t close our eyes. Tweets after tweets, messages and messages, dead bodies all over our gallery, and the calls zo kubikira, we all were agitated. And lately you don’t need uwukubikira ,whatsapp does it in a very ‘amazing’ way .You even lack tears when you see a picture of a family member dead, in a whatsapp group while no one in the family has yet told you the news.
We started tweeting, wondering what happened. We learned how the police went in some homes and killed young people. We learned how they were taken like animals just because they live in the cursed neighborhood. By ‘cursed’ I mean Musaga, Nyakabiga, …

You could have seen how they were savagely killed. We are not humans anymore. Just like the person  said ‘ Nta cabaye gisumba ico muri 1993′. Maybe I am the one who is not strong enough and take it easy. I am unable to take the death of one simple person as a regular thing, how about hundreds? Maybe I need to grow.

Help me understand how young people well dressed were rebels? One month had passed and I still don’t understand .I don’t understand how hundreds were killed and some dared to tweet it was just self defense. Basically they defended themselves against people who were wearing formal clothes.
Help me understand how a country can lose his future and the next day some are at the beach ng’ urugendo rw amahoro. Where do they get such a courage and boldness ?
Help me really understand because I don’t! Maybe It is my little heart who can’t but am I the only one who’s bleeding from inside? Am I the only one who cannot stop mourning? Am I the only one who has cried and have got to a point tears are not coming ? Am I alone in feeling useless when I see kids becoming orphans at a cost of one’s ambitions?
How about the sleepless nights because of two lives we do live: one here and the other one there!
Help me understand how the mother who have seen his two sons taken and later saw their bodies all over whatsapp, will survive the pain?
Help me understand how we will handle the hearts of orphans…

#1212Massacre was a part of a nightmare. It cannot just be about hundreds we have lost that day. It includes every life taken since the crisis started and every single person who disappeared. #1212Massacre includes our pain. The pain of seeing the irreparable taking place in our motherland and there is nothing we can do besides screaming, tweeting, blogging, asking for a help that will never come. It includes as well the pain of seeing parents burying their kids and we dare to tell them, It will be okay. We guarantee them of a better future while all they need is an assurance of the present. Killings are still taking place, maybe tomorrow their only child left will be killed or maybe the only parent left will be taken and later found dead.

#1212Massacre includes our fear. The fear of losing the ones we love and seeing the worst taking place even though the worst already happened. What is worse than seeing the police shooting on the people, they are supposed to protect? What is worse than killing a family ku murango izuba ryaka? What is really worse than shooting a little boy who was kneeling down with hands on the air screaming ‘ Don’t kill me!’. What is worse than seeing thousands marching for peace while the roads are filled with dead bodies?
What is worse than seeing someone tweeting ‘N uyundi musi ntimuzosubire gutera igisoda kizima mwabonye ivyabaye’ 

We may be telling ourselves that the sun will rise and this heavy rain will stop and it’s true sokuru yararivuze, nta mvura idahita. But at the end of the day,the past eight months have affected us emotionally and physically. We may try to go to school, go to work. We may also fake and be at the beach on sunday. We may keep partying and clubbing nkuko vyamye i Bujumbura but the instability in our hearts is real. We cannot forget every picture we tweeted using #KamweKamwe. We cannot forget every souls we lost  while they were just protesting. We cannot forget the pictures of dead bodies we do delete daily on our phones. We erased them but our minds is just full of them.

Every murundi aho ava akagera, uwigira sindabibazwa n uwo biraje inshinga
will have to live with every soul we have lost in their mind and heart.
Though we may try hard to move forward, the #1212massacre is part of our lives. We either carry it with us or deny it but deep inside we know we can’t run from it.

This is for Nepo, Charlotte, Jacqueline, Christophe, Pantaleon, Alfred and many more who were killed. We miss you and mourn daily!

From my heart to Yours,

Judicaelle

You better keep going

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This week was very challenging for me. I had to do a lot at work and I had to keep writing (Yeah I am writing a book: some tales dear to my heart). I am exhausted like anyone at every end of a fruitful week.
When I was sitting down, meditating on perseverance. I realized many have abandoned what they hold onto because they lacked someone to tell them that they should keep moving regardless of how tough it may seem.

Do not give up even though you have to keep making some hard sacrifices.
Maybe your week was not what you expected or planned but it does not mean that the following one will be the same. You better keep moving. Just because you procrastinated that article you should have written or that business plan you should have done, it does not mean that you are a failure. I agree, procrastination is an issue you have to deal with but meanwhile keep moving.
Yes ,you are exhausted because you work two jobs and attend school but again keep moving. Keep doing what you are doing , hold on tight. Those sacrifices you are paying are shaping you. That’s why you better keep going despise the fact that it’s hard!
With Love, 
Judicaelle 

Burundi Stop Rape

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In my post “The third term Victims” I wrote how Twitter has become a microphone anyone can use to say whatever they want. Many anonymous accounts were created since the crisis in Burundi. There is a war happening on Twitter between the Pro and Anti third term. The fight is real out there, hashtags after hashtags. I have nothing against it and this post is not about the fights (By the way I do enjoy them sometimes ). I am simply going to pour my heart out. Trust me, I don’t expect the government to stop what is happening neither the “Intwitirakure” to stop their nonsense tweets. At the end don’t we all have the right to tweet whatever we want

Yesterday, I spent the whole night arguing with people (maybe it was one person using one account who knows? Baje nk’ igitero). We were tweeting using the hashtag #BurundiStopRape. An article was out with testimonies of women who were RAPED by the police and imbonerakure (according to the article). I got many replies for my tweets, some were telling me that I was a liar, abandi ngo nderura lol. Others affirmed that #SindumujaTerrorists made the story. I was fine with all the replies until three girls started mentioning me in their tweets. I can’t quote what they wrote. I was laughing out loud until they started making fun of the raped women. Tears started flowing, I turned off my phone and slept. I closed my eyes with the pain of how reckless, thoughtless and evil we have become.

You may say ngo n ingaruka za mandat! I don’t think the third term has changed us gushika aho tuba ibikoko. Truly, the third term really took masks off from our faces. Deniza yaravyivugiye ngo n umwaka wo kumenya abantu. The term showed us how igiti muri gouvernement gituma umuntu adendemba!(Excuse  language).
Don’t blame the third term when it’s about nonsense tweets from people I would spend a fortune to see their faces.

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Rape is a very dear issue to my heart. Plus growing up “church girl”, I heard many testimonies of girls who were raped by their fathers, their uncles, their fiancés,…I have got to see the pain and the shame they felt every time they remembered that someone ripped away what they hold onto!
I have got to see that what hurts the most is how you can’t talk about it .”Urya mukobwa wo kwanaka baramufashe ku nguvu hewe” You cannot accept the sound of those words to resonate on your ears from gossipers around you. You make it a secret, tell yourself that such a thing is safe when kept with you only. I have seen a woman who was still going through a healing process after years of trying move on . She was still having nightmares of that scene when a bastard, an ungrateful boy penetrated her vagina while he could be her son. I have heard many girls who couldn’t get married because the trauma was real. No man could touch them because all they know was being abused and their sexual organs being accessed by force. I have lost my cousin because she couldn’t bear the pain, she chose to end her life.
The saddest part in all the stories is how they couldn’t tell anyone at that time. Families could have rejected them ” Wagiye kwiyangaza reka uyabone “Reka kwambika ibara Sowanyu wa gitandero we”). Society could have judged them and nailed them at the cross (“Ni joro yataha nta kindi yari kuzovamwo”Yoo uriya ndamuzi ni we abihera,ntawamufashe ku nguvu”). They then chose to live with pain and shame. They made fear and disappointment their friends. They cried at night alone but nothing gave them back their dignity.
Others went for help and were rejected. That’s the reality of rape in my dearest motherland. No one can go around saying “I need help, they raped me yesterday?” (reka sha yihe amenyo y’abatwenzi). Some could share their stories maybe after being healed of the trauma. Mainly when are comfortable and ready to share it with the world.

However my point is simple. How can you tweet asking why they (women who are raped lately) didn’t go to the police?
In addition that they cannot go there because of all the reasons we know, how can you expect “Uwariwe n’ inzoka kwitwara kw’isato ?”. According to the reports imbonerakure and the police are raping women and you are asking why the women are not going to the police? (Mais ça c’est la meilleure).
Uwayiciye umurya was the one who tweeted Jacky’s photos .You know Jacky? I wrote about her in one of my posts. She was raped and killed two months ago. He (uwuhora avugira Leta kur Twitter) was asking where were all the people who were tweeting about #BurundiStopRape when Jacky was killed. The funniest part in all this was that the same person who was talking about selectivity never tweeted about any victim (Ibaze kuva crise itanguye) beside Jacky. We are not in competition of crimes. In fact, a crime is a crime.  I don’t really see why he brought Jacky while there are women who are being raped daily! The only reason I found : “Inda ni mbi iradendembesha”
There is  also another category which denies that women are being raped. For them, Sindumuja ) is creating all the chaos so they can accuse the government. But rape is not new in Burundi, in fact it is a common crime protected by our culture.
I  followed what they were tweeting until I got angry. So angry because while they are showing us their stupidity, no one is helping so there won’t be a next victim. So angry because there is nothing I can do to prevent my sisters, my mother, my cousins, my neighbors, my aunts, my friends to be the next victim!
So angry because all I can do is tweet and blog about #BurundiStopRape.

J.I