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5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliantly written and devastating account, 15 May 2014
By 
Mr. David Belton (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Chaplains of the Militia: The tangled story of the Catholic church during Rwanda's genocide (Guardian Shorts Book 12) (Kindle Edition)
Chris McGreal's book is a devastating and incisive story of the appalling complicity of the Catholic Church in Rwanda before and during the 1994 genocide. His scrupulous, unerring eye leaves nothing - and nobody - hiding in the shadows. I was utterly gripped by the riveting quality of the book - it was hard to put down - and the staggering revelations. McGreal is a brilliant journalist and his work - for the Guardian and here - is essential reading. As a recent author of a book on Rwanda, I am left in awe at McGreal's outstanding journalism and brilliant storytelling.
David Belton, Author, When The Hills Ask For Your Blood.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A graphic and compelling read, 26 April 2014
This review is from: Chaplains of the Militia: The tangled story of the Catholic church during Rwanda's genocide (Guardian Shorts Book 12) (Kindle Edition)
This is a powerful account of the role of the Catholic church in the horrors of the Rwanda genocide 20 years, told with Chris McGreal's characteristic eye for human stories and vivid detail while never losing sight of the hugely important overarching theme. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant journalist; Brilliant book, 23 April 2014
This review is from: Chaplains of the Militia: The tangled story of the Catholic church during Rwanda's genocide (Guardian Shorts Book 12) (Kindle Edition)
By way of full disclosure I should start by saying that I've worked with Chris McGreal on stories in both South Africa and the US and he's a first class journalist with a keen eye for both complexities and stereotypes combined with an uncanny ability to get people to talk openly. As the Guardian's Africa correspondent for more than a decade it's not hard to see why he wanted to write this gripping account of the moral collapse of the church in the Rwandan genocide.
He graphically describes the horror of walking through the corpses of thousands of people murdered inside a Rwandan church turned human abattoir in 1994. But far from abandoning the story there 20 years later he visits another church, this time in rural France, looking for answers from a Rwandan priest who spent the genocide with a gun on his hip selecting people to die.
The book's value resides in the incredible picture he paints of the stunning institutional and ethical denial within the church to reckon with the sheer depravity of what occurred. Priests murdered their own congregations. One had 2,000 people bulldozed inside his church and the survivors shot. The country's archbishop allied himself with the genocide regime. His bishops refused to condemn the government organising the extermination of the Tutsis.
How did the church become complicit in mass murder? McGreal finds answers among the survivors of the terror in the churches who saw their own children murdered or were forced into buying their lives by agreeing to sex with the priest.
But some of the most telling insights come from the clerics themselves. McGreal confronts one Rwandan bishop with a long forgotten letter he signed as a young priest four decades ago that called Tutsis “cockroaches”. The cleric begs him not to make the letter public.
How did the Catholic church react after the killing was over? By helping priests with blood on their hands to elude justice and escape to Europe. Some are there to this day, still priests in a church that steadfastly refuses to admit it has anything to apologise for over the genocide.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Horrifying complicity, 7 April 2014
This review is from: Chaplains of the Militia: The tangled story of the Catholic church during Rwanda's genocide (Guardian Shorts Book 12) (Kindle Edition)
Chris McGreal, one of the greatest, most gripping western writers on Africa, reveals the Catholic Church's complicity in the Rwandan genocide and shows that it was as bad as any scandal dogging the Vatican. Read it, it's fury inducing and utterly engrossing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, revealing and not to be missed, 6 April 2014
This review is from: Chaplains of the Militia: The tangled story of the Catholic church during Rwanda's genocide (Guardian Shorts Book 12) (Kindle Edition)
I thought I knew pretty much everything about the Rwandan genocide but this made me think again. A fascinating and fresh look at a long neglected but crucial dimension, written with verve and telling detail. It raises serious questions about the role of the Catholic church and where the perpetrators of humanity's worst atrocities wash up.
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