We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families by Philip Gourevitch
Stories From Rwanda

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Synopsis

An unforgettable firsthand account of a people's response to genocide and what it tells us about humanity.

This remarkable debut book chronicles what has happened in Rwanda and neighboring states since 1994, when the Rwandan government called on everyone in the Hutu majority to murder everyone in the Tutsi minority. Though the killing was low-tech--largely by machete--it was carried out at shocking speed: some 800,000 people were exterminated in a hundred days. A Tutsi pastor, in a letter to his church president, a Hutu, used the chilling phrase that gives Philip Gourevitch his title.

With keen dramatic intensity, Gourevitch frames the genesis and horror of Rwanda's "genocidal logic" in the anguish of its aftermath: the mass displacements, the temptations of revenge and the quest for justice, the impossibly crowded prisons and refugee camps. Through intimate portraits of Rwandans in all walks of life, he focuses on the psychological and political challenges of survival and on how the new leaders of postcolonial Africa went to war in the Congo when resurgent genocidal forces threatened to overrun central Africa.

Can a country composed largely of perpetrators and victims create a cohesive national society? This moving contribution to the literature of witness tells us much about the struggle everywhere to forge sane, habitable political orders, and about the stubbornness of the human spirit in a world of extremity.

 

About Philip Gourevitch

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Philip Gourevitch is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a contributing editor of the Forward. He has also written from Africa, Asia, and Europe for Granta, Harper's, and The New York Review of Books. Born in 1961, he lives in New York City.
 
Published September 4, 1999 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 356 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War, Education & Reference, Biographies & Memoirs, Travel, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families

Kirkus Reviews

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Gourevitch deftly weaves together historical background to the massacres (arguing against the oft-invoked theory of ancient rivalries), firsthand accounts of the killings, stories of survival and loss related by a handful of Rwandans, and cynical criticism of international agencies— handling of t...

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Publishers Weekly

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As the Rwandans try to rebuild their lives while awaiting the slow-moving justice system, the careful yet passionate advocacy of reporters like Gourevitch serves to remind both Rwandans and others that genocide occurred in this decade while the world looked on.

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CNN.com

(SALON) -- On April 6, 1994, Rwanda's longtime Hutu dictator, Juvénal Habyarimana, was assassinated in the capital city of Kigali.

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