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We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families:… (1998)

by Philip Gourevitch

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,238643,494 (4.42)105
An unforgettable firsthand account of a people's response to genocide and what it tells us about humanity. This remarkable debut book chronicles what has happened in Rwanda and neighboring states since 1994, when the Rwandan government called on everyone in the Hutu majority to murder everyone in the Tutsi minority. Though the killing was low-tech--largely by machete--it was carried out at shocking speed: some 800,000 people were exterminated in a hundred days. A Tutsi pastor, in a letter to his church president, a Hutu, used the chilling phrase that gives Philip Gourevitch his title. With keen dramatic intensity, Gourevitch frames the genesis and horror of Rwanda's "genocidal logic" in the anguish of its aftermath: the mass displacements, the temptations of revenge and the quest for justice, the impossibly crowded prisons and refugee camps. Through intimate portraits of Rwandans in all walks of life, he focuses on the psychological and political challenges of survival and on how the new leaders of postcolonial Africa went to war in the Congo when resurgent genocidal forces threatened to overrun central Africa. Can a country composed largely of perpetrators and victims create a cohesive national society? This moving contribution to the literature of witness tells us much about the struggle everywhere to forge sane, habitable political orders, and about the stubbornness of the human spirit in a world of extremity. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families is the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.… (more)
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» See also 105 mentions

English (63)  German (1)  All languages (64)
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
Amazing book teaching the reader what really happened in the Rwanda genocide of the Tutsis by the Hutus. Some a-hole white guy made the mistake of saying that Tutsis were more aristocratic than the Hutus (Hamitic myth). Hutus were pissed off about the fact that Tutsis belonged to the ruling class so with help from France (Mitterand), Hutus all over this small country hacked, bludgeoned and shot to death all the Tutsis they could find, in 1994. This horrible event was ignored by the international community and when Tutsi refugees tried to flee, Hutus went with them to refugee camps in Zaire and Tanzania. They knew that aid workers wouldn't know which were which, so they, along with the French and Belgium soldiers, took all the food and policed the refugee camps themselves. So, when some humanitarian organization asks you to"feed the hungry," just remember to whom your dollars will go. (Moreover, at least 75¢ out of$1 will go to overhead).
The genocide of Tutsis continued for years and years, and this struggling little nation has had to do all the work of rebuilding their home and trying to bring the genocidaires to justice without any help from the major powers who blocked their efforts every step of the way.
Gourevitch spent years researching his book. I thank the author for making me aware of a genocide that I (shockingly) just became aware of. No wonder the world hates us. ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
An incredible recounting of the Rwandan genocide that sheds a lot of light across the atrocity of the different players and motivations involved. It is harrowing and chilling but also incredibly well written. Well worth the read whether you are interested in Rwandan history or not. ( )
  renbedell | Feb 6, 2022 |
Holy critter. I started this book knowing the Rwandan genocide was basically composed of Hutus killing Tutsis in the mid-1990s, and ended it with a radically transformed mindset toward so many institutions and people and ideas. Chief among them is the UN and the international community as a whole, who are perhaps the most responsible, I think, for ignoring the genocide and facilitating the massacres that followed it.

The book itself was easy to read, surprisingly, since it dealt with some of the most unfathomable human situations to have transpired in recent history. My only problem with Gourevitch is that he never really got to the red-hot human center of the Rwandan genocide: How were so many of the Hutus so completely inhuman? How could they have done what they did? It's true that he explains the history leading up to the genocide, but he never really investigates the thought processes that guided the Hutus in their rampage. Because of that, I felt like he cheated us out of a 100% complete understanding of the conflict.

Overall, however, this book was one of the most illuminating I have ever read. ( )
  Gadi_Cohen | Sep 22, 2021 |
Incredible writing, incredibly important, yet extremely emotionally taxing. ( )
  echinops | Aug 18, 2021 |
Like many others, I was interested to learn more about the genocide in Rwanda, and thought this highly rated book would be a good source. In my opinion, it failed to explain the genesis of the deep seated hatred by the Hutu tribe of the Tutsi tribe, and was extremely dry/dull. There was little connection with the characters: it felt like a textbook.

I thought The Girl Who Smiled Beads was much better. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
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Philip Gourevitchprimary authorall editionscalculated
Delamare, PhilippeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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An unforgettable firsthand account of a people's response to genocide and what it tells us about humanity. This remarkable debut book chronicles what has happened in Rwanda and neighboring states since 1994, when the Rwandan government called on everyone in the Hutu majority to murder everyone in the Tutsi minority. Though the killing was low-tech--largely by machete--it was carried out at shocking speed: some 800,000 people were exterminated in a hundred days. A Tutsi pastor, in a letter to his church president, a Hutu, used the chilling phrase that gives Philip Gourevitch his title. With keen dramatic intensity, Gourevitch frames the genesis and horror of Rwanda's "genocidal logic" in the anguish of its aftermath: the mass displacements, the temptations of revenge and the quest for justice, the impossibly crowded prisons and refugee camps. Through intimate portraits of Rwandans in all walks of life, he focuses on the psychological and political challenges of survival and on how the new leaders of postcolonial Africa went to war in the Congo when resurgent genocidal forces threatened to overrun central Africa. Can a country composed largely of perpetrators and victims create a cohesive national society? This moving contribution to the literature of witness tells us much about the struggle everywhere to forge sane, habitable political orders, and about the stubbornness of the human spirit in a world of extremity. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families is the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.

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