Last week, my co-worker asked me for a recommendation of top 5 books on Genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda. This a tough question to answer since there are a lot of great options out there. From my personal experience tough, here is my top 5 recommendation. The order one to five does not really matter at all. In fact, my most favorite reads are at the bottom of the list.
- Leave None to tell the story- Genocide in Rwanda (1) This book is perhaps my most favorite account of genocide because of the level of details it provides. The Author, Alison Des Forges , documents genocide preparation, development and consolidation of the Hutu Power ideology in each and every commune (County) of Rwanda. The book does not even shy away from mentioning the names of those Hutus who were at the helm of killings in their respective localities. Reading this heavy weight piece of work, I realized how little I knew about the very tragedy I survived—the genocide against the Tutsi. Free PDF is available here.This book was also recently published in Kinyarwanda as ‘’Ntihazasigare n’uwo kubara inkuru’’ which I would highly recommend as well.
- The Rwanda Crisis, History of a Genocide: In the Rwanda Crisis, journalist Gérard Prunier provides a historical perspective that Western readers need to understand how and why the nearly total extermination of Rwanda’s Tutsi population came to pass. Gerard Prunier probes into how the genocidal events in Rwanda were part of a deadly logic – a plan that served central political and economic interests – rather than a result of primordial tribal hatreds, a notion often invoked by the media to dramatize genocide.
3. A people Betrayed the Role of the West in Rwanda’s Genocide: Linda Melvern reveals how the great powers failed to heed the warnings of the coming catastrophe, and refused to recognize the genocide when it began, ignoring obligations under international law, specifically the 1948 genocide convention. A set of secret documents leaked to the author from within the Security Council proves that the circumstances of the genocide were suppressed or ignored. Linda Melvern’s Consipiracy to murder published in 2004 is equally a must read.
4. Life Laid Bare, the Survivors in Rwanda Speak.Originally published in French as ‘’ Dans le nus de la vie’’ the French author, Jean Hatzfeld skillfully describes the daily survival stories of 14 survivors who miraculously survived the extermination of Tutsis thanks to the papyrus swamps along the Nyabarongo river in Bugesera. The book demonstrates the uncertainty and pervasive effects of genocide in the lives of survivors. Jean Hartzfeld’s other books such as the ‘’Antilope’s strategy: Living in Rwanda After the Genocide’’ and ‘’Machete season ‘’are worth checking as well.
5. You can’t talk about books about the Rwanda genocide against the Tutsi without mentioning , by Philip Gourevitch of The New Yorker.
This book describes Gourevitch’s travels in Rwanda after Genocide, in which he interviews survivors and retells their stories but also provide a very useful context in which the genocide broke out. In the last chapters of this book, Gourevitch discussed a topic that caught my attention with a lot of interest. How the international community soon forgot the bleeding wounds of survivors and focused all the attention to Genocidaire who fled west to the Congo after committing a brutal genocide. End, Albert.