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.
In April-May 1994, 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis were massacred by their Hutu fellow citizens--about 10,000 a day, mostly being hacked to death by machete. In Machete Season, the veteran foreign correspondent Jean Hatzfeld reports on the results of his interviews with nine of the Hutu killers. They were all friends who came from a single region where they helped to kill 50,000 out of their 59,000 Tutsi neighbors, and all of them are now in prison, some awaiting execution. It is usually presumed that killers will not tell the truth about their brutal actions, but Hatzfeld elicited extraordinary testimony from these men about the genocide they had perpetrated. He rightly sees that their account raises as many questions as it answers. Adabert, Alphonse, Ignace, and the others (most of them farmers) told Hatzfeld how the work was given to them, what they thought about it, how they did it, and what their responses were to the bloodbath. "Killing is easier than farming," one says. "I got into it, no problem," says another. Each describes what it was like the first time he killed someone, what he felt like when he killed a mother and child, how he reacted when he killed a cordial acquaintance, how 'cutting' a person with a machete differed from 'cutting' a calf or a sugarcane. And they had plenty of time to tell Hatzfeld, too, about whether and why they had reconsidered their motives, their moral responsibility, their guilt, remorse, or indifference to the crimes. Hatzfeld's meditation on the banal, horrific testimony of the genocidaires and what it means is lucid, humane, and wise: he relates the Rwanda horror to war crimes and to other genocidal episodes in human history. Especially since the Holocaust, it has been conventional to presume that only depraved and monstrous evil incarnate could perpetrate such crimes, but it may be, he suggests, that such actions are within the realm of ordinary human conduct. To read this disturbing, enlightening and very brave book is to consider in a new light the foundation of human morality and ethics.
A tale of crime and punishment from a prizewinning writer. A few years ago, Andy Rosenzweig, an inspector for the Manhattan District Attorney's office, was abruptly reminded of an old, unsolved double homicide. It bothered him that Frankie Koehler, the notoriously dangerous suspect, had eluded capture and was still at large. Rosenzweig had known the victims of the crime, for they were childhood friends from the South Bronx: Richie Glennon, a Runyonesque ex-prizefighter at home with both cops and criminals, and Pete McGinn, a spirited restaurateur and father of four. Rosenzweig resolved to find the killer and close the case. In a surprising, intensely dramatic narrative, Philip Gourevitch brings together the story of Rosenzweig's pursuit with a mesmerizing account of Koehler's criminal personality and years on the lam. A Cold Case carries us deep into the lives and minds, the passions and perplexities, of an extraordinary cop and an extraordinary criminal whose lives were entwined over three decades. Set in a New York City that has all but disappeared, and written with a keen ear for the vibrant idiom of the colorful men and women who peopled its streets, this is nonetheless a book for our times. Gourevitch masterfully transforms a criminal investigation into a searching literary reckoning with the forces that drive one man to murder and another to hunt murderers."
"To make the effort to understand what happened in Rwanda is a painful task that we have no right to shirk–it is part of being a moral adult." –Susan Sontag In the late 1990s, French author and journalist Jean Hatzfeld made several journeys into the hilly, marshy region of the Bugesera, one of the areas most devastated by the Rwandan genocide of April 1994, where an average of five out of six Tutsis were hacked to death with machete and spear by their Hutu neighbors and militiamen. In the villages of Nyamata and N'tarama, Hatzfeld interviewed fourteen survivors of the genocide, from orphan teenage farmers to the local social worker. For years the survivors had lived in a muteness as enigmatic as the silence of those who survived the Nazi concentration camps. In Life Laid Bare, they speak for those who are no longer alive to speak for themselves; they tell of the deaths of family and friends in the churches and marshes to which they fled, and they attempt to account for the reasons behind the Tutsi extermination. For many of the survivors "life has broken down," while for others, it has "stopped," and still others say that it "absolutely must go on." These horrific accounts of life at the very edge contrast with Hatzfeld's own sensitive and vivid descriptions of Rwanda's villages and countryside in peacetime. These voices of courage and resilience exemplify the indomitable human spirit, and they remind us of our own moral responsibility to bear witness to these atrocities and to never forget what can come to pass again. Winner of the Prix France Culture and the Prix Pierre Mille, Life Laid Bare allows us, in the author's own words, "to draw as close as we can get to the Rwandan genocide."
On the tenth anniversary of the date that UN peacekeepers landed in Rwanda, Random House Canada is proud to publish the unforgettable first-hand account of the genocide by the man who led the UN mission. Digging deep into shattering memories, General Dallaire has written a powerful story of betrayal, naïveté, racism and international politics. His message is simple and undeniable: “Never again.” When Lt-Gen. Roméo Dallaire received the call to serve as force commander of the UN intervention in Rwanda in 1993, he thought he was heading off on a modest and straightforward peacekeeping mission. Thirteen months later he flew home from Africa, broken, disillusioned and suicidal, having witnessed the slaughter of 800,000 Rwandans in only a hundred days. In Shake Hands with the Devil, he takes the reader with him on a return voyage into the hell of Rwanda, vividly recreating the events the international community turned its back on. This book is an unsparing eyewitness account of the failure by humanity to stop the genocide, despite timely warnings. Woven through the story of this disastrous mission is Dallaire’s own journey from confident Cold Warrior, to devastated UN commander, to retired general engaged in a painful struggle to find a measure of peace, reconciliation and hope. This book is General Dallaire’s personal account of his conversion from a man certain of his worth and secure in his assumptions to a man conscious of his own weaknesses and failures and critical of the institutions he’d relied on. It might not sit easily with standard ideas of military leadership, but understanding what happened to General Dallaire and his mission to Rwanda is crucial to understanding the moral minefields our peacekeepers are forced to negotiate when we ask them to step into the world’s dirty wars. Excerpt from Shake Hands with the Devil My story is not a strictly military account nor a clinical, academic study of the breakdown of Rwanda. It is not a simplistic indictment of the many failures of the UN as a force for peace in the world. It is not a story of heroes and villains, although such a work could easily be written. This book is a cri de coeur for the slaughtered thousands, a tribute to the souls hacked apart by machetes because of their supposed difference from those who sought to hang on to power. . . . This book is the account of a few humans who were entrusted with the role of helping others taste the fruits of peace. Instead, we watched as the devil took control of paradise on earth and fed on the blood of the people we were supposed to protect.
Standard Operating Procedure is an utterly original collaboration by the writer Philip Gourevitch (We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families) and the film-maker Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line, The Fog of War). They have produced the first full reckoning of what actually happened at Abu Ghraib. Standard Operating Procedure reveals the stories of the American soldiers who took and appeared in the haunting digital snapshots from Abu Ghraib prison that shocked the world – and simultaneously illuminates and alters forever our understanding of those images and the events they depict. Drawing on more than two hundred hours of Errol Morris’s startlingly frank and intimate interviews with Americans who served at Abu Ghraib and with some of their Iraqi prisoners, as well as on his own research, Philip Gourevitch has written a relentlessly surprising account of Iraq’s occupation from the inside-out – rendering vivid portraits of guards and prisoners ensnared in an appalling breakdown of command authority and moral order. Gourevitch and Morris have crafted a nonfiction morality play that stands to endure as essential reading long after the current war in Iraq passes from the headlines. By taking us deep into the voices and characters of the men and women who lived the horror of Abu Ghraib, the authors force us, whatever our politics, to re-examine the pat explanations in which we have been offered – or sought – refuge, and to see afresh this watershed episode. Instead of a ‘few bad apples’, we are confronted with disturbingly ordinary young American men and women who have been dropped into something out of Dante’s Inferno. This is a book that makes you think, and makes you see – an essential contribution from two of our finest nonfiction artists working at the peak of their powers.
Over the space of a hundred days in 1994 nearly a million Rwandans were murdered by their fellow citizens, and the world refused to stop it. Philip Gourevitch's extraordinary book We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families immediately established itself as the great work on its terrible subject. Now, on the twentieth anniversary of the genocide, Gourevitch has gone back to Rwanda. You Hide That You Hate Me and I Hide That I Knowexplores with great insight and intimacy a society where killers and survivors live again as neighbours, grappling with the burdens of memory and forgetting. He talks to an extraordinary range of Rwandans, from perpetrators and victims in tiny peasant communities, to street kids, businessmen, artists, judges, the national cycle team, the country's revolutionary leaders and their opponents. Gourevitch also revisits the wars of the genocide's aftermath that continue in Congo. Combining travelogue and investigative reporting, personal narratives and political debates, these stories of life after genocide could not be more urgent or gripping. Gourevitch's moving work is a profound, fiercely beautiful literary reckoning with humanity betrayed and the hard bargains of personal and political forgiveness.
"Rejecting easy explanations of the genocide as a mysterious evil force that was bizarrely unleashed, one of Africa's best-known intellectuals situates the tragedy in its proper context. He coaxes to the surface the historical, geographical, and political forces that made it possible for so many Hutu to turn so brutally on their neighbors. He finds answers in the nature of political identities generated during colonialism, in the failures of the nationalist revolution to transcend these identities, and in regional demographic and political currents that reach well beyond Rwanda. In so doing, Mahmood Mamdani broadens understanding of citizenship and political identity in postcolonial Africa." "Mamdani's analysis provides a foundation for future studies of the massacre. His answers point a way out of crisis : a direction for reforming political identity in central Africa and preventing future tragedies."--Résumé de l'éditeur.
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Joseph Sebarenzi’s parents, seven siblings, and countless other family members were among 800,000 Tutsi brutally murdered over the course of ninety days in 1994 by extremist Rwandan Hutu—an efficiency that exceeded even that of the Nazi Holocaust. His father sent him away to school in Congo as a teenager, telling him, “If we are killed, you will survive.” When Sebarenzi returned to Rwanda after the genocide, he was elected speaker of parliament, only to be forced into a daring escape again when he learned he was the target of an assassination plot. Poetic and deeply moving, God Sleeps in Rwanda shows us how the lessons of Rwanda can prevent future tragedies from happening all over the world. Readers will be inspired by the eloquence and wisdom of a man who has every right to be bitter and hateful but chooses instead to live a life of love, compassion, and forgiveness.