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We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will…
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We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families:…

by Philip Gourevitch

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3.25 stars

This is a history of Rwanda leading up to, focusing on, and continuing beyond the genocide in 1994.

This wasn't quite what I expected. I was expecting stories from the survivors of the genocide, and there was some of that, but there was also a lot of history and politics, as well. So, for me, some parts were more interesting than others. Overall, it was o.k. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jan 17, 2014 |
"God no longer wants you." So spoke a local pastor, a man of religion, as he ordered the massacre of 2,000 of his Tutsi neighbours and friends. The mass killings that took place in Rwanda in 1994 stand as the most hideous since Hitler and Stalin, yet they were aided by the French government, who supported the maniacal Hutu Power government. This book tears apart the excuses given by the Western powers as to why they didn't interfere, why they just let more than 800,000 Tutsis be obliterated without lifting one finger.

Gourevitch brings passion to his words and outlines the history of not only Rwanda, but of its ties to Uganda, what-was-then-Zaire, Burundi, and other African countries. In Rwanda, a Tutsi was called an inyenzi, a cockroach. So when the government called on its Hutu citizens to cleanse the land, they immediately took their machetes and went to work. How could so many humans kill so many others? The book strips down the national ethos of Rwanda, showing an ingrain mob mentality often referred to as 'community'.

"I cry, you cry. You cry, I cry. We all come running, and the one that stays quiet, the one that stays home, must explain. This is simple. This is normal. This is community."

When the rebel Tutsi group started taking control, the Hutu murderers fled across the borders to camps...funded by the great Western powers. The money was spent, because it had to be spent, and Hutus not only lived well, but were then allowed to return to their original homes, while their maimed Tutsi neighbours squatted in burned-out villages.

"Do you know what genocide is? A cheese sandwich. Write it down. Genocide is a cheese sandwich. Genocide, genocide, genocide. Cheese sandwich, cheese sandwich, cheese sandwich. Who gives a shit?"

We always look at the Holocaust, and the Great Purge, and we say to ourselves, ah well, that would never happen where I live. While this book is about Rwanda, it is really more about the internal compass inside every human being which points us to being part of the mob, to not stand out. Maybe the zombies have already arrived, and they are us.

Beware of those who speak of the spiral of history; they are preparing a boomerang. Keep a steel helmet handy. (Ralph Ellison)

Book Season = Year Round

( )
  Gold_Gato | Sep 16, 2013 |
Eye opening account of Rwandan geneocide ( )
  jasdeep | Apr 4, 2013 |
Philip Gourevich's account of the aftermath of the genocide in Rwanda is soul shattering and haunting. One of the most important case studies of Rwanda's aftermath. ( )
  bookalover89 | Jun 28, 2012 |
This is one of those books I read slowly. Not because I was savoring the language (as good as that was), but because I simply could not read it constantly and retain my sanity. But this is an excellent study of the Rwandan genocide, the factors leading up to it, the people and countries involved, the local and worldwide political situation and how all of that affected (for good or bad) the situation in Rwanda, and all the many permutations of the immediate aftermath and hope for healing and restoration. Throughout Gourevitch also asks important questions about the how the world perceives genocide and historically how it reacts to it. Bill Clinton and Madelyn Albright have immense amounts of blood on their hands. ( )
  whymaggiemay | May 10, 2012 |
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Decimation means the killing of every tenth person in a population, and in the spring and early summer of 1994 a program of massacres decimated the Republic of Rwanda.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312243359, Paperback)

"Hutus kill Tutsis, then Tutsis kill Hutus--if that's really all there is to it, then no wonder we can't be bothered with it," Philip Gourevitch writes, imagining the response of somebody in a country far from the ethnic strife and mass killings of Rwanda. But the situation is not so simple, and in this complex and wrenching book, he explains why the Rwandan genocide should not be written off as just another tribal dispute.

The "stories" in this book's subtitle are both the author's, as he repeatedly visits this tiny country in an attempt to make sense of what has happened, and those of the people he interviews. These include a Tutsi doctor who has seen much of her family killed over decades of Tutsi oppression, a Schindleresque hotel manager who hid hundreds of refugees from certain death, and a Rwandan bishop who has been accused of supporting the slaughter of Tutsi schoolchildren, and can only answer these charges by saying, "What could I do?" Gourevitch, a staff writer for the New Yorker, describes Rwanda's history with remarkable clarity and documents the experience of tragedy with a sober grace. The reader will ask along with the author: Why does this happen? And why don't we bother to stop it? --Maria Dolan

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:19:43 -0400)

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"In 1994 the Rwandan government implemented a policy for the Hutu majority to murder everyone in the Tutsi majority".

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