Although it occurred only in 1994, the civil war in the tiny central African nation of Rwanda has already slipped from memory. In that country, writes Belgian historian Gérard Prunier, Tutsi and Hutu fell to slaughtering each other at the end of a long history of Belgian, German, and French colonialism that deliberately played on ethnic tensions. The final "historical product" was the murder of perhaps a million people and the displacement another two million, nearly half of the country's population all told. Prunier traces a course through the complex history of unrest and hatred that washed over Rwanda, and he looks deeply into the question of why this horror could have happened in an era of international peacekeeping. His conclusion is disturbing: "Genocides are a modern phenomenon--they require organization--and they are likely to become more frequent."
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From Library Journal
One of the absolute and mystifying horrors of the late 20th century has been the carnage taking place in the small central African nation of Rwanda. It is also probably safe to say that it has been the least understood. The author, a senior researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, has written the first comprehensive account in English that examines the causes and events of this genocidal civil war. Whereas most in the West have been given to believe it was merely a "tribal" conflict (Hutu vs. Tutsi), Prunier points out, correctly, the substantive underlying causes: a colonial legacy that disrupted precolonial ethnic relations, political chaos and repression, economic dislocation, Western bungling and neglect, the role of the church, and overpopulation?to name a few. His well-written and important study belongs in all but the smallest collections dealing with Africa or current events. Another comparable title is Alain Destexhe's Rwanda and Genocide in the Twentieth Century (LJ 10/1/95).?Paul H. Thomas, Hoover Inst. Lib., Stanford, Cal.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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