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God Sleeps in Rwanda: A Personal Journey of Transformation Paperback – 1 Feb 2010
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"Joseph Sebarenzi presents a thoughtful critique of Kagame's regime. His tale is a provocative warning to the many outsiders who are ready to canonize Kagame." (Washington Post)
“A worthy contribution to the literature of both genocide and conflict resolution” (Kirkus Reviews)
"Gives a voice to more than 800,000 Rwandans who have died." (Pride Magazine)
"A remarkable achievement: to convey cruelty and courage, horror and survival, treachery and faith in a seamless story where the reality may appal but the attention never flags. Also a valuable afterword on the power and potential of forgiveness as a way forward anywhere." (Michael Henderson - author of ‘No Enemy to Conquer: Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World’)
“Compelling and heartrending … Readers will be swept up by this powerful narrative, with the remarkable arc of Sebarenzi’s life, and especially by his capacity to transform violence and embrace love … Of Sebarenzi’s personal journey, one can only stand in awe, with gratitude that he has survived and that we are able to share in his journey.” (Paula Green - Professor, School for International Training Graduate Institute Director, Karuna Cente)
"An extraordinary book on the continuing drama of Rwanda. Well written, incisive and generous, it offers new insights into the past and proposes a roadmap for the future." (Filip Reyntjens - Professor of Law and Politics at the University of Antwerp, author of The Great Af)
"A passionate, heartfelt perspective about the tragedy, and his personal ordeal and survival. Sebarenzi writes with a concise, authoritative voice, and with exceptional clarity of Rwanda's complicated past and present." (Herb Boyd - author of 'Baldwin's Harlem')
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In his telling of events of his story Sebarenzi brings to life the loss of innocence and the fear that was part of those living in Rwanda during those decades which comprised his entire lifetime. In Rwanda this fear was ever present even in times of deceptive peace. This racial tension would inevitable lead to racial violence that would be molded into mobs murdering their friends and neighbors as well as wholesale destruction of property. These atrocities were committed by the majority Hutu against the minority Tutsi who had once held leadership possessions before they gained independence from Belgium.
The mobs of Hutu would get a command every few years and go on killing sprees throughout the country killing Tutsi. And one of the reason we learn entire families were killed was because if there were no survivors, the murders would be able to keep what ever property they had stolen. If family members lived most property would be returned when the killing sprees ended. And in the beginning when these violent racial killings took place the Hutu would not go into Holy Places that became sanctuary's. This would change in the final Hutu attacks we know as the Rwanda genocide by the people of the world in the 1990's.
No government who had the power to stop this genocide would even call it by its true name for there is international law that would have had the United Nations (i.e. the U.S.A.) have to go in with military force and stop the violence. Instead all countries politicians with armies turned their back on the mass killings and the United Nations who were told exactly what would happen a month before it could would not let the Peace keepers confiscate the weapons caches they knew about. The United Nations only worked to protect and evacuate foreigners and then all but 500 Peace Keepers actually left the country to their genocide which would eventually turn into a civil war.
This memoir gives the general outline of what transpired and the visceral feel through the one who lost so much family. Sebarenzi returns to Rwanda after the civil war and things seem to be working out. He joins the government to help be part of solution of unifying the country he loves. His love of country, family and faith is strong and exhibited throughout the book. It is this faith in God that allows him the strength to forgive the Hutu and do what he feels is best for the country as a whole. Of course despite his best efforts and his faith Rwanda would go the way of many African countries as he gets caught in the middle of a power grab that left the Hutu living in fear.
There is no real happy ending, but how could their be with so much fear and mistrust. And the author was correct in his first assessment of his political abilities and naive in his belief that the rule of law would be followed in his country. Though he did his best and became Speaker of parliament he was eventually forced to once again flee his homeland. His story gives the reader a much better understanding of Rwanda's tragic history. This book is worth reading but is a memoir as I mentioned and not a history book.
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John E. Mugabi
Congratulations to the Author for having the guts to speak up and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. That is a quality that is severely lacking in the vast majority of people here in the U.S and the world as a whole. I hope your faith follows you where ever you and your family go.
Sebarenzi's Afterword, "Moving Toward Forgiveness and Reconciliation" is essential for all those who want to be part of a new movement in conflict resolution. In addition, readers will gain a clear understanding about how colonialism sowed the seeds of enmity between Hutu and Tutsi, which created the ethnic divisions that led to genocide.
The book's insights will stay with you, long after you have turned the final page.