In the first half of We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch, the author provided a chronological description of the Rwandas genocide. With harrowing stories from survivors, detailed retellings of how the genocide came about, and personal eyewitness accounts of Gourevitch’s journey through Rwanda, this book provided a perspective on genocide that the other books from this class have not touched on. I was not at all bored while reading this book because the author tells it as if the events are unfolding in the present and he walks the reader through the history of the genocide in an interesting way. His writing style was somewhat journalistic. What I liked most about this book was the survivor’s descriptions of what happened to them. The author remarked on the facial expressions and mannerisms of the survivors as they spoke about their experiences, which added to the emotional aspect of reading about what they went through.
I had always known that the Rwandan genocide was between the Tutsis and the Hutus, in which the Hutus wiped out all Tutsis. Yet, I never learned why. It was something that was skimmed over in my world history class in high school, barely talked about at all. This book made sense of the genocide in a simple, straight forward manner. I was able to learn so much more about it because of the way that the author wrote this book.
What surprised me most within this first part of the book is that most countries, especially world powers, had a general disinterest in helping the Tutsis in Rwanda. Officials dragged their feet and failed to intervene. One major point raised by Gourevitch was that “to fear justice one must first believe that one has done wrong” (Gourevitch, p. 160). When Hutus were fleeing from Rwanda after the genocide was over and other countries finally started to get involved, they were afraid of getting caught for what they had done. Gourevitch’s argument was that the Rwandan genocide cannot be denied.
1. How does the Rwandan genocide differ from genocides carried out in more technologically advanced countries?
2. Why were many churches in Rwanda reluctant to help out Tutsi victims?
3. How much of an effect did colonization of Africa by European powers, and continued European influence/control into the 20th century, have on the start of the Rwandan genocide?