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We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda Paperback – September 4, 1999
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The "stories" in this book's subtitle are both the author's, as he repeatedly visits this tiny country in an attempt to make sense of what has happened, and those of the people he interviews. These include a Tutsi doctor who has seen much of her family killed over decades of Tutsi oppression, a Schindleresque hotel manager who hid hundreds of refugees from certain death, and a Rwandan bishop who has been accused of supporting the slaughter of Tutsi schoolchildren, and can only answer these charges by saying, "What could I do?" Gourevitch, a staff writer for the New Yorker, describes Rwanda's history with remarkable clarity and documents the experience of tragedy with a sober grace. The reader will ask along with the author: Why does this happen? And why don't we bother to stop it? --Maria Dolan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
On the surface, "We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families" is a graphic account of the 1994 genocide in which the "Hutu Power" government led its citizens to slaughter 800,000 of their Tutsi neighbors in only 100 days ... while the international community stood by and watched helplessly. In a greater sense, however, this is a story about how people imagine the world to be, and the terrible consequences that follow when they lose their humanity in trying to create such a world. It is about the nature of evil, and the power of forgiveness and justice to reclaim the future without forgetting the past.
This is a difficult and painful book to read, but not for the obvious reasons. The atrocities committed by the killers are brought to light in considerable detail, however Gourevitch does this in an almost semi-detached and dispassionate way. His real moral outrage seems to be reserved for the so-called "civilized" countries that could have stopped the genocide, but instead did nothing until it was too late ... and then compounded their foreign policy sins by aiding the Hutu murderers in refugee camps.
There is certainly plenty of blame to go around. Gourevitch provides extensive evidence that there were many warning signs of the impending massacres. He outlines the brief history of ethnic antagonisms that led to the crimes, and explains why the Clinton Administration, the United Nations (including current U.N.Read more ›
Poorly written/edited: I'm a writer/editor myself and the pages of this book flew through my fingers. I was totally absorbed. I found it well written, but if you're worried, I have a feeling the subject matter is so important, you wouldn't even notice if stylistically it wasn't your cup of tea.
Sources: He interviews the following types of people: Hutus who killed, Tutsis who were attacked, government officials of many countries, foreign aid workers. Don't believe the people who say he only interviews the power players and leaves out the voice of the common man. The hotel manager's (just a middle class Hutu who did what he thought was right) story is awesome and could make a movie as powerful as Schindler's List.
Too self-centered: Yes, Gourevitch brings in his own observations and experiences. I felt they were insightful and interesting. Part of his quest is to see how people deal with the genocide, how they internalize it and incorporate it into their existence. As an American going to Rwanda from New York to learn about this genocide, Gourevitch has an interesting perspective and I'm glad he didn't choose to bury it.
One more thing: Several reviews crticized a particular passage where he talks about the "postmodern war" of relativism versus right/wrong. These reviewers misunderstood the passage. He's not talking about the genocide itself, but he's talking about THE WAR OVER THE GENOCIDE.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
a difficult read because it is very sad but arrived quicklyPublished 3 months ago by Marilyn D. York
An interesting book but very political. I thought it was going to be more about people's individual stories. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book is harrowing in every sense.
Following the stories behind the genocide in Rwanda this book is as enlightening as it is terrifying. Read more
You want to know what happened in Rwanda in 1994? What led up to it and what happened afterwards? It's all here. Read morePublished 3 months ago by E. Redifer
I read this book a few years ago actually and it still stands out as one of the best books I've ever read. Read morePublished 6 months ago by MindiL
I ordered this in April of 2014 and read it shortly thereafter. I should have written a review long ago, but I do want to say now that this book is one that has stayed with me, and... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Clifton B.