We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda
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Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.
In April 1994, the Rwandan government called upon everyone in the Hutu majority to kill each member of the Tutsi minority, and over the next three months 800,000 Tutsis perished in the most unambiguous case of genocide since Hitler's war against the Jews. Philip Gourevitch's haunting work is an anatomy of the war in Rwanda, a vivid history of the tragedy's background, and an unforgettable account of its aftermath. One of the most acclaimed books of the year, this account will endure as a chilling document of our time.
fight. What was needed was not a relief mission, but a rescue mission, because the noncombatants at Mugunga weren’t so much refugees as hostages, being held as a human shield. It was another very strange time. During the first nine and a half months of 1996, the fact that the Mobutist–Hutu Power alliance in eastern Zaire was slaughtering thousands of people and forcing hundreds of thousands more from their homes did not seem to excite the international press. During that period, exactly one
thank my grandmother, Anna Moisievna Gourevitch; my memory of the stories she told me presides over this book. Finally, Elizabeth Rubin, by her example, her intelligence and her pluck, her wit and her warmth, has inspired and sustained me throughout this work. For her company, from near and from far, I am truly grateful. Notes 1 Because Rwanda and Burundi were administered as a joint colonial territory, Ruanda-Urundi; because their languages are remarkably similar; because both are
the United States to surrender the pastor—or anybody else—to the tribunal, and Judge Marcel Notzon, who presided over the case in federal district court, agreed. On December 17, 1997, after fourteen months in a Laredo jail, Pastor Ntakirutimana was released unconditionally, and he remained a free man for nine weeks before FBI agents arrested him a second time, pending an appeal of Judge Notzon’s decision. When I heard that Pastor Ntakirutimana had been returned to his family in time for
and waste of their mission, shredded their UN berets on the tarmac at Kigali airport. A week later, on April 21, 1994, the UNAMIR commander, Major General Dallaire, declared that with just five thousand well-equipped soldiers and a free hand to fight Hutu Power, he could bring the genocide to a rapid halt. No military analyst whom I’ve heard of has ever questioned his judgment, and a great many have confirmed it. The radio transmitter of RTLM would have been an obvious, and easy, first target.
might, at any given moment, be more important. There were clans and families, rich and poor, Catholics, Muslims, Protestants of various stripes, and a host of more private animists, as well as all the normal social cliques and affiliations, including male and female, who were marrying each other at a fantastic clip, now that the war was over and it was allowed in the RPF, and now that so many had lost any other form of family. It made one’s head spin. Even Rwandans didn’t claim to have it all