A journalist who covered the one-hundred-day Rwandan war in 1994 provides a disturbing account that suggests that a power-hungry group, using hate radio and local political leaders as brainwashers, purposefully incited thousands of Hutus to kill minority Tutsis and more moderate Hutus.Amazon.com Review
Fergal Keane, an Irish journalist, formerly BBC correspondentin South Africa, was sent in 1994 to cover the war in Rwanda that hadleft one million Tutsis dead, most of them gruesomely hacked to deathby their Hutu neighbors. The power of this account lies in Keane'sprofound emotional shock at barely imaginable cruelty, and in thepersonal testimony of the survivors he interviewed. Keane alsosearches for meaning. Like many familiar with Africa, he rejects thetoo easy explanation of "tribal hatred," with its assumptionthat the problem is intractable and internal. He emphasizes insteadthe economic and class disparities driving a political bloodlust,reminiscent perhaps of revolutionary France. Even though understandingsuch atrocity seems out of reach, Keane bears eloquent witness toevil. ... Read more
Customer Reviews (14)
I bought this for a Grad class.It was absolutely intriguing.The author imbeds the tragedy of th Rwandan Massacres with his own personal accounts as a BBC reporter.Read the whole thing in a few hours.
fails on many fronts
As one of the earlier books written on the tragic subject of the genocide Keane's book might seem acceptable.His depiction of the suffering and death is powerful and forceful and leaves little to the imagination.The book, in my opinion, is well-intentioned but ends up being narcissistic.It seems to be more about the author's story of himself.I found certain passages and comments to be indicative of white privilage, ethnocentrism, demeaning and condescending.As far as understanding the genocide I would suggest other books, especially Human Rights Watch's "Leave None to tell the Story".If you are interested in first person experiences I would recommend Gourevitch's "We Regret to inform you"...an excellent book and L General Romeo Dallaire's book "Shake Hands with the Devil"...an incredible book by an exceptional human being. There are many good books on the subject.If you are interested in Rwanda and plan to read more than one book I would suggest passing on Keane's book.I would go with Gourevitch for a similar but much more profound and humane approach.
Deeply Touching and Moving
I began developing an intense interest in the Rwandan genocide recently, after reading various feature articules and op-ed pieces in the press commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the tragedy. There were countless examinations of how the genocide came about, there were merciless condemnations on the International Community's inaction as well as numerous examinations of Rwanda 10 years after the crisis. This book is different from that in at its heart is doesn't seek to ask why, it isn't a strict cross-examination but because it is such a deeply personal account, it manages to transcend many of these editorials and truly bring home the scale and tragedy of the massacres.
Fergal Keane writes with a clarity and economy and an unerring eye for detail that is undoubtedly borne of his vast experience as an award winning journalist. He is not one to mince words, nor waste them and this book is a powerful and intense account as a result. But where this book really grabs hold is the way in which Keane confronts his own personal demons and reflects on how his time in Rwanda has left him deeply scarred. It is the deeply moving way in which we see him confront, internalize and eventually deal with the tragedy and its aftermath that sets this account apart.
This is a book that should be read by everyone. It is a testament to the tragedy of how hate can drive humanity to unspeakable barbarism. It will shock you, haunt you and move you immensely.
One of the most stunning books about Rwanda!
I couldn't put this book down, it was so engrossing and filled with the words only an eye-witness could write.The author's experience in Rwanda right before the genocide of more than a million people is both insightful and amazing.There is no better book on the subject!This is better than any novel horror story, this is real life; this is REALITY!The horrors that Africa has seen as a nation go beyond most American's comprehension and the Rwanda tragedy is no exception.A gripping tale emerges from the pages of this book and does not let you go.Open this book with caution - once read, the contents will refuse to leave your mind.
It is truly a shame that the Western media did not provide greater coverage of the genocide and civil war that nearly destroyed Rwanda in the early 1990's.It seems that the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia etc.completely eclipsed the African tragedy so well captured by Fergal Keane.I like to think that armed with more information, Western Powers would have intervened in order to halt the tribal savagery organized by both the Hutus and Tutsis. In reality, however, Western powers continue to see Africa as a backwards and barbarous continent, more fit for colonization than development.
Keane did a remarkable job of bringing the Rwandan tragedy to light.As a renowned BBC correspondent, Keane has witnessed reprehensible tragedies, disasters, and acts of inhumane conduct that most of us will never (hopefully) ever bear witness to.And although Keane has seen the worst of mankind, in a variety of instances, it seems that what he saw in Rwanda left lasting and troubling memories.
The book is relatively short, only 200 pages, but it certainly leaves its mark on the reader.The graphic descriptions are intense, but Keane's insight into not only the Rwandan situation, but into the minds of those who participated in the horror is startling as well.We certainly need more authors like Keane, who delve into the loathsomeness of man and bring forth the lessons that we all should heed.
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