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Reflections on the 1994 genocide
on 8 September 1999
If you want to read about the most brutal and least disguised genocide since the Second World War, then this is the book for you. The opening chapter, consisting of a precis of Rwandan history leading up to the genocide, is the best such guide that I have read, and I doubt that it will ever be bettered. After this the book describes the journey that Keane, and his colleagues, took into the heart of the horror in 1994. I have worked on Rwanda for a little while now, and I have seen a little of that horror myself. But Keane's descriptions of the experiences of the Survivors (and of the far more numerous dead) made me feel that I was hearing the stories for the first time. We all become a little jaded from time to time, and a degree of mental toughness is good in life, but occasionally we need to be reminded of the extent of loss that events like this genocide involve. Not simply the loss of life, but the loss of trust, the loss of hope and the loss of "humanity" as a component of people's characters. 1994 was a bad year for humanity, in all its senses, and "Season of Blood" reminds us of that with evident anger, compassion and shame.