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We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will…

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families:… (edition 1999)

by Philip Gourevitch

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Title:We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda
Authors:Philip Gourevitch
Info:Picador (1999), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 356 pages
Collections:Your library

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We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch


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This book is an account of the genocide that occurred in Rwanda in 1994, when 800,000 Tutsis were slaughtered by Hutus in the period of 3 months. They were killed, mostly with machetes, in the most horrific ways imaginable, while the rest of the world turned their eyes away.
Philip Gourevitch explains just how the genocide came to pass, and what the aftermath was in the following four years.
Along with the facts, this book raises so many questions – How can a person hack to death someone in their own family? How does one “survive” this kind of event? Why didn’t somebody from outside Rwanda (i.e. a European nation or the United States) step in to help put down the killers? How could the Tutsis live side-by-side with the Hutus after the refugees returned?
Gourevitch interviewed survivors, killers, government officials, business people, and professional soldiers among others. He writes with amazing clarity and detail regarding the timeline of events. His access to the people he interviewed was incredible. He must have been nearly fearless in his attempts to gain the truth.
This book is an important chronicle of a horrendous event. Just like the Holocaust, this is an event which shouldn’t be forgotten.
~Stephanie ( )
1 vote BooksOn23rd | Nov 25, 2015 |
Philip Gourvetich's "We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families" is a heart-wrenching account of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. It's estimated 1 million Tutsis (and some Hutu moderates) were murdered in 100 days by the Hutu majority. That's something like five people killed every minute. Entire families were slaughtered even though there is little to distinguish the two ethnic groups from each other except for national identity cards.

Gourvetich's book tries to answer the unanswerable: How could Hutus suddenly listen to those in power, pick up machetes and start beating, raping and murdering their neighbors and even family members en masse? How could the international community turn its back until much later, when it ended up responding by suppling refugee camps made up mostly of the murderers themselves? And how can a nation "heal" from this when Tutsi survivors are expected to live amongst the people who murdered their entire families, including their children and grandchildren?

I'm not sure any of the questions are really thoroughly answered, nor can they be. The book was not exactly what I expected... I expected more stories from both Tutsi survivors and Hutu perpetrators, though I understand the latter was impossible as few Gourvetich interviewed would admit they participated in the genocide. The book is more often an exploration of the region's politics, which was still eye-opening and sad.

Overall, the book is well written and thought provoking though at times difficult to read because of the subject matter. ( )
3 vote amerynth | Sep 26, 2014 |
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 |
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:34 -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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