many bells down


Expedition: Rwanda
March 21, 2006, 4:21 pm
Filed under: Books, News

This week, Yahoo! has an excellent feature on Rwanda in its “Richard Bangs Adventures” section.  So far, Bangs has explored the clean water issue and taken readers into the mountains to commune with silverback gorillas.  I can’t wait to see what he’ll be writing about tomorrow.  In our celebrity-dominated and materially-driven culture (which I’ll admit I am also a slave to), it’s nice to have some well written, eye-opening journalism about things that actually matter and people who are less fortunate than ourselves.

Recently, I finished reading We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will be Killed with our Families, an in-depth look at the genocide in Rwanda.  Written by Philip Gourevitch of The New Yorker, it examines the origins of the ethnic hatred in the area, the events leading to and after the genocide, the world’s reaction and inaction (a soldier tells Gourevitch that genocide is “a cheese sandwich, because no one cares about a cheese sandwich”), and gives harrowing, heartbreaking firsthand accounts of the violence – from both sides.  Ultimately, Gourevitch believes there is hope for Rwanda.  It was an incredible book and one I recommend wholeheartedly. 

(Incidentally, if you’re interested in the subject of genocide – which, morbidly, I am – another fascinating book is A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.  It examines the United States’ stance on all the known genocides that have occurred – a stance which often includes doing nothing when we knew genocide was happening, or worse, helping those who commit genocide because we believed them to be the lesser of two evils, i.e., Saddam Hussien when Iraq was at war with Iran.  It takes everything you thought you knew and turns it on its head.)

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