In-Depth – Rwanda Genocide

22 Feb

As i mentioned in Monday’s In-Depth reading post i want to explore certain subjects and the first is the Rwanda Genocide which took place in 1994 when around 20% of the country’s population is estimated to have been killed within 100 days. Between 500,000 to 1,000,000 people.

I had read Shake Hands With the Devil a few years ago which was written by Romeo Dallaire. Dallaire was the Commander of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda at the time of the genocide. It’s a tremendous and disturbing book to read. My only other experience with Rwanda, was the film Hotel Rwanda. I am not just interested in what happened over those 100 days but in the aftermath of the genocide as well.

The reading list comprises of 4 books, 1 article and possibly a re-read of Shake Hands With the Devil . I am starting with We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families, by Philip Gourevitch.

Reading list

Shake Hands With The Devil, by Romeo Dallaire

We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families, by Philip Gourevitch

Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak, by Jean Hatzfeld

A Thousand Hills: Rwanda’s Rebirth and The Man Who Dreamed it, by Stephen Kinzer

As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda, by Catherine Claire Larson

Bystanders to Genocide, by Samantha Power (Atlantic article)


Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Books, In-Depth


Tags: , ,

2 responses to “In-Depth – Rwanda Genocide

  1. Dinos

    February 23, 2012 at 11:05

    I have to say, I really admire your desire to learn about the events that took place in Rwanda. I wish I could dedicate a couple of hours a day to learning about this world rather than being a receiver of the hope/fear inducing therapy we call the news.

    You’ve drawn up an interesting reading list on the subject (as far as I can tell from the covers;)). We live in the Age of Information, but there is also so much disinformation out there, that I wonder how you decided which books to read? A lot of these books (this type of book, not the ones in your reading list) are written to sway the ‘Western’ publics opinion on the matter, either one way or another. Are you interested in the history, the politics, the atrocities, the humanitarianism, the whole thing? How could one possibly decide what to read and makes sure they are getting a well-rounded perspective on the matter?

    Also, there is an interesting Nietzsche quote which I find to be incredibly true:
    “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you”

    I understand this reply may be too long winded and badly written, but i rest easy in the knowledge that I have somewhat contributed to reinforcing the suitability of your blog’s title.

  2. costastaliadoros

    February 23, 2012 at 11:50

    Hi Dinos,

    I save a lot of time by not watching (nor reading) Cyprus “news”. I try to follow some key events selectively of course but i find that newspapers and channels in Cyprus offer no value at all. Neither in terms of the quality of information nor in terms of opinion. It comes at a price of course but i’ve long decided that the benefits far outweigh any costs.

    With regards to the other 2 issues you raise i am afraid my answers will probably disappoint you as i don’t believe there are clear and absolute answers to them.

    1. How i made the decision on which books to read – The first two “Shake Hands with the Devil” and “We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed together with our families” i had read reviews in newspapers and magazines. By accident to be honest as i wasn’t really looking for books on Rwanda. Just interesting books.

    The rest of the books, i went through the topics I wanted to read. I was especially interested about the aftermath. How people lived on after the genocide. How could a country could possibly move on after something like this which left noone unaffected. Once i established the topics i again went to reviews both at Amazon and again magazines/newspapers.

    Unfortunately, it is a flawed way to go about it as i am indeed relying on people whose values (i.e Western) i mostly already share to guide me towards the resources i will use. Maybe i will just reconfirm my own pre-existing prejudices. That is indeed a possiblity. Historians and researchers always of course should try and go to the source (who again have their own backgrounds to battle with). I cannot do this but at the same i don’t want to hide behind the diffulty of trying do this by just not doing it at all.

    2. The quotes in my last blog post basically cover my reasons for reading about events and people such as these. I think it’s better for one to face and try to deal with his demons (both at a personal level and society level) than ignore them. Of course i am just reading about this. These people have lived through this.


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