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We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda Hardcover – 26 Mar 1999
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|Hardcover, 26 Mar 1999||
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"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, Amazon.com
"[It is the] sobering voice of witness that Gourevitch has vividly captured in his work."-Wole Soyinka, " The New York Times Book Review" "[Gourevitch] has the mind of a scholar along with the observative capacity of a good novelist, and he writes like an angel. This volume establishes him as the peer of Michael Herr, Ryszard Kapuscinski, and Tobias Wolff. I think there is no limit to what we may expect from him."-Robert Stone "A sobering, revealing, and deeply thoughtful chronicle."-"The Boston Globe" "The most important book I have read in many years . . . [Gourevitch] examines [the genocidal war in Rwanda] with humility, anger, grief and a remarkable level of both political and moral intelligence."-Susie Linfield, " Los Angeles Times" "Shocking and important . . . clear and balanced . . . the voice in this book is meticulous and humane."--Michael Pearson, "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" "Astonishing . . . [Gourevitch] is masterful at pl --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
I must say that I found this book more affecting than Keane's, but it may well be that I read this first and it had more impact on me. Gourevitch' skill as a writer is mesmerising - I often felt I was there, whether hiding in a church, or talking to a "pygmy" in a bar, or sitting on some survivor's veranda - everything is immediate, compelling, and vivid.
The final situation, with the refugee camps and the new government, was fascinating, and an insight into a moral minefield in the aftermath of Rwanda's murderous disaster. This book haunted me for a long time after I had finished it.
While this book may not be a complete textbook on the conflict in Rwanda, it does give a very valuable insight and I for one feel my understanding of the genocide is superior as a result of it.
This is one of these accounts that really shames a whole number of people in high and low places. The catholic church were more concerned with preserving their own interests than human life as were so called Western democracies and the lame, token forces they sent into allegedly protect the innocent. Some rare and humble heroes also emerge (notably the story that became “Hotel Rwanda”).
Some of the graphic re-telling of the slaughter, torture and killing reads like something from the Medieval era (or current Islam dictatorship that is immune to questioning on human rights due to their oil resources). According the author, the rate of slaughter at the height of the genocide was enough to rival the holocaust.
There are some slightly grating inaccuracies with some of the facts but nothing that genuinely detract from the overall message. This is a powerful and compelling read that leaves you reeling at the injustice, cowardice and indifference of the usual suspects and the legacy of this madness still continue to this day in the jungles, villages and cities of the Congo.
Gourevitch makes this story so real and so raw it is often difficult to read at times. I had to put the book down several times because its so horrific, heart wrenching and personal. I read this book for the first time about 5 years ago and as a practitioner of international human rights law this is still one of the most insightful and realistic accounts of genocide i have read.