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A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda's Genocide

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1856498319
ISBN-10: 185649831X
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her excellent new work, investigative journalist Melvern (formerly of the Sunday Times of London) carefully reveals how the Security Council, the United Nations, the Belgians, the French and the Americans, in particular, failed to act in the face of a carefully executed plan to murder one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda in 1994. Melvern uncovers the historical roots of the supposed ethnic differences between the Hutu and Tutsi and what she identifies as the real cause of the genocide: the Rwandan government's corrupt oligarchy pilfered the treasury, fomented violence and planned the extermination of the Tutsis simply to hold on to power. She writes that a considerable amount of the $216 million in loans to Rwanda's government from international institutions like the World Bank and the IMF went to the purchase of arms, and that before the genocide, the Egyptians and the French helped arm the Hutu extremists. After the genocide, horrifying articles about the resulting refugee crisis caused by an exodus of two million Rwandans prompted foreign governments to spend $1 million a day to help the refugees. Melvern points out that Rom?o Dallaire, the courageous head of the UN mission in Rwanda who acted heroically in the face of little support, had said all along that a small increase in troops by 2,500 to 5,000 would have prevented the deaths of tens of thousands. Melvern gives a shocking portrait of calculated mass murder and Western inaction. Readers who were drawn to Philip Gourevitch's We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families or those with a special interest in ethnic strife, genocide or African affairs will want to read this disturbing account. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“...a wide-ranging account of the actions and inactions of shady arms dealers, inept bureaucrats, and cowardly politicians...” —The Washington Monthly

“...Melvern offers a vivid picture of the role of Western nations in abetting, ignoring and allowing Rwanda's genocide.” —New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Zed Books (November 18, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185649831X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1856498319
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,741,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By "exun" on January 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
Probably, the story of Rwandan genocide is the most shocking international scandal of the post World War II era. The book is a brilliant reconstruction of that time, written with amazing clarity and based on well established facts.
In three months of 1994 about one million people was killed in organised genocide. The killing rate was five times faster than that achieved by the Nazis during WWII holocaust. But on the contrary to the Nazis, the Rwandan genocide happened in the full light of the international media, with the full knowledge of the UN Security Council and the Western governments.
Linda Melvern describes and documents in detail the role of the West in the genocide.
The story is so bad that almost all of the publishers in the UK refused to publish this book with comments like "the story is really too awful" or "I cannot see people forking out money to read about such an unspeakable subject..."
Do you think you can fork out some money for the truth? I think this book is certainly worth any money.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Zed Books on November 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
`Quite extraordinary: precise, and yet overwhelming; a fine balance in the face of depravity... Linda Melvern has written an extraordinary account of the Rwanda genocide, and the shocking failure of the West to lift a finger... What Melvern demonstrates so powerfully is that where Western geopolitical interests are absent, Western morality and `civilised' concerns are nowhere to be found ... A brave and compelling book.' - Professor Richard Falk, Center of International Studies, Princeton University
`This is a devastating account of lies, deceit, complacency and tragic neglect.... All we can hope is that this fine book will provide lessons for the future, because it provides all of us who lobby and campaign for early warning systems and conflict prevention with invaluable evidence. Looking around the world, you wonder what has been learnt since 1994. Linda Melvern deserves our thanks for investing so much in breaking the silence and revealing the truth.' - Glenys Kinnock, MEP; Chair, Forum on Early Warning And Early Response (FEWER)
'What happened in Rwanda is one of the most appalling, heartbreaking tragedies that the world has known. Why did it occur? And what more could have been done to prevent it? This serious, very thorough attempt to answer those questions will be essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand what happened. This is a powerful and important book.' - The Right Reverend Richard Harries, Bishop of Oxford
`A riveting and well-researched account of the horrendous crimes committed in Rwanda while an indifferent world, to its shame, looked the other way. There are grim lessons here for everyone, from international statesmen and politicians to responsible citizens and decent human beings everywhere' - Dame Margaret Anstee
'This is a very important book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Crispy on October 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Compared to Romeo Dellaire's "Shaking hands with the devil", which is a kind of diary of the facts occured in Rwanda, Melvern's workpiece is not as thorough as this one. Nevertheless, "A people betrayed..." is such an accurate piece of investigation which depicts the reality of the genocide and is backed by lots of precise documentation.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John C. Landon on July 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
After all the fine words and 'never agains' the truth is out. Genocide will slip right in front of major organs of news and nothing happens to stop it.
This short but detailed account of the Rwanda genocide 1994 is both low-key and shocking and needs examination.
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