I’ve had Philip Gourevitch’s book, We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families, sitting on my bookshelf for quite a while now, but it is only recently that I started to read it. I have spent most of today finishing it off, and I think it has fast become one of the top two books I’d recommend to anyone wanting to read about Rwanda.
Gourevitch’s book is essentially a collection of stories from Rwanda, focused around the genocide in 1994. It’s heartbreaking reading, but insightful, and well written. This time last year I was still in Rwanda. No doubt you would have found me meandering down the beach at Gisenyi or holed up in a cafe in Kigali. Though my time there was short, I think about it often. I think about what it must have been like to live through a genocide, and maybe worse, to live through a genocide that everyone knew about but noone cared about. I wondered what it must be like to live in the aftermath of such an event, and it was often something that came up in my conversations with Rwandan friends.
Gourevitch writes of the many NGOs and governments who sought for neutrality in the situation. It provoked such a strong reaction in me… I wonder, can we really claim neutrality if our inaction is what is aiding the violence? Just thinking aloud, but it’s a thought that has been plaguing me in recent days.
Reminds me of that old quote, usually attributed to Edmund Burke, “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”