Philip Gourevitch – Stories from Rwanda

“The dead of Rwanda accumulated at nearly three times the rate of Jewish dead during the Holocaust” (Gourevitch)

The book We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families¬†– Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch is an informative read. It’s a narrative of many personal stories containing a lot of facts and useful information. I found it had the perfect balance to make it a enjoyable to read yet hard at times due to the content. The book is based on the Rwandan genocide, one of the most tragic events in history. Rwanda is overwhelming catholic, which was something I hadn’t known before and played a big part in society. Catholic schools were very popular but once the violence started discrimination spread into the educational system also. Catholic schools started discriminating against Hutu’s and were in favor of Tutsi’s. I think this must’ve added to the tension between the two greatly since many were religious people. I can’t imagine a religion discriminating against a race and in this case Catholicism. Hutu’s were Bantu, cultivators, vassals, mostly peasants/farmers, ¬†and were generally darker, shorter with curlier hair. While on the other hand Tutsi’s were herdsmen, cattle workers, and generally taller, more slender, with lighter skin. These were the most popular distinctions between the two. I found the whole concept and uprising very interesting since it was not in their nature before. In Kigali there was a plane that was shot down and everyone was killed and thats when the real violence started. In 1994 the French led a military operation in Rwanda in efforts to establish a “safe-zone”, this movement was called Operation Turquoise. The Rwandan genocide was a genocidal mass murder led by the Hutu government against the Tutsis. It began by extreme Hutu nationalists in the capital of Kigali and lasted from about April 7th – July 1994. With casualties ranging from 500,000 to 1 million.

“It was the most efficient mass killing since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki” (Gourevitch)

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Operation Turquoise- French military with Hutu refugees

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