In the second half of We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch, the author discussed the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide. The events that took place after the genocide came to an end, such as violence in Zaire, a struggle to repatriate the Rwandans who had fled, and the difficulty for Hutus and Tutsis to reconcile and come back together as citizens of Rwanda was brought to light in this half of the book. I was very intrigued by this topic because I had barely ever learned anything about the Rwandan genocide in general, let alone the aftermath of it. The second half was very bland and difficult to get through, as compared to the first half, until the last thirty pages. In the very end of the book, Gourevitch’s skill as a journalist was more apparent and his writing style changed. He no longer discussed the history of Rwanda in the 90’s, but instead switched to convincing the reader of his points and urging the reader to think differently about the Rwandan genocide’s legacy.
The main target for Gourevitch’s condemnation for allowing the genocide to take place was the international community- not the Hutus. Although greatly against what the Hutus did in Rwanda (and still regarding those who carried it out as criminals of the worst degree), the international community, to Gourevitch, stood aside and failed to recognize that genocide was being carried out. Gourevitch’s ultimate hope at the end of this book is that, like Albright or Clinton, people would realize the error of their ways in overlooking a genocide and brushing it off as if it were not taking place. He wanted the reader to know that these things can be brought to an end as long as someone intervenes, but no one did.
In my opinion, the author tied his points together very nicely at the end and gave his journalistic study of Rwanda a greater purpose to teach the world about what took place, as well as why and how the genocide was carried out. Although there are some potential biases and reliability issues, this book taught me a lot about the Rwandan genocide and now I feel like I have a great understanding of it. Gourevitch was not trying to pin anything on any of the people that he interviewed or talked about within this book. Instead, he brought forth the fact that it is a responsibility for everyone to be on the lookout for genocidal acts and to own up for their actions (or lack of action).
1. Would the situation in the Congo have ended up differently if European countries were still imposing colonial rule over it? What effect did European absence in the Congo have on how the crisis was brought to an end?
2. Why did the international community fail to get involved in removing Mobutu from power and forcing him to face punishment for his involvement in the genocide?
3. What were the reasons for returning Rwandans to look down on the Tutsis who had stayed in Rwanda during the genocide, and what caused this divide between the two groups?