In April-May 1994, 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis were massacred by their Hutu fellow citizens--about 10,000 a day, mostly being hacked to death by machete. In Machete Season, the veteran foreign correspondent Jean Hatzfeld reports on the results of his interviews with nine of the Hutu killers. They were all friends who came from a single region where they helped to kill 50,000 out of their 59,000 Tutsi neighbors, and all of them are now in prison, some awaiting execution. It is usually presumed that killers will not tell the truth about their brutal actions, but Hatzfeld elicited extraordinary testimony from these men about the genocide they had perpetrated. He rightly sees that their account raises as many questions as it answers. Adabert, Alphonse, Ignace, and the others (most of them farmers) told Hatzfeld how the work was given to them, what they thought about it, how they did it, and what their responses were to the bloodbath. "Killing is easier than farming," one says. "I got into it, no problem," says another. Each describes what it was like the first time he killed someone, what he felt like when he killed a mother and child, how he reacted when he killed a cordial acquaintance, how 'cutting' a person with a machete differed from 'cutting' a calf or a sugarcane. And they had plenty of time to tell Hatzfeld, too, about whether and why they had reconsidered their motives, their moral responsibility, their guilt, remorse, or indifference to the crimes. Hatzfeld's meditation on the banal, horrific testimony of the genocidaires and what it means is lucid, humane, and wise: he relates the Rwanda horror to war crimes and to other genocidal episodes in human history. Especially since the Holocaust, it has been conventional to presume that only depraved and monstrous evil incarnate could perpetrate such crimes, but it may be, he suggests, that such actions are within the realm of ordinary human conduct. To read this disturbing, enlightening and very brave book is to consider in a new light the foundation of human morality and ethics.
The continuation of a groundbreaking study of the Rwandan genocide, and the story of the survivor generation In Rwanda from April to June 1994, 800,000 Tutsis were slaughtered by their Hutu neighbors in the largest and swiftest genocide since World War II. In his previous books, Jean Hatzfeld has documented the lives of the killers and victims, but after twenty years he has found that the enormity of understanding doesn’t stop with one generation. In Blood Papa, Hatzfeld returns to the hills and marshes of Nyamata to ask what has become of the children—those who never saw the machetes yet have grown up in the shadow of tragedy. Fabrice, Sandra, Jean-Pierre, and others share the genocide as a common inheritance. Some have known only their parents’ silence and lies, enduring the harassment of classmates or the stigma of a father jailed for unspeakable crimes. Others have enjoyed a loving home and the sympathies offered to survivor children, but do so without parents or an extended family. The young Rwandans in Blood Papa see each other in the neighborhood—they dance and gossip, frequent the same cafés, and, like teenagers everywhere, love sports, music, and fashion; they surf the Web and dream of marriage. Yet Hutu and Tutsi children rarely speak of the ghosts that haunt their lives. Here their moving first-person accounts combined with Hatzfeld’s arresting chronicles of everyday life form a testament to survival in a country devastated by the terrible crimes and trauma of the past.
A powerful report on the aftereffects of the genocide in Rwanda—and on the near impossibility of reconciliation between survivors and killers In two acclaimed previous works, the noted French journalist Jean Hatzfeld offered a profound, harrowing witness to the unimaginable pain and horror in the mass killings of one group of people by another. Combining his own analysis of the events with interviews from both the Hutu killers who carried out acts of unimaginable depravity and the Tutsi survivors who somehow managed to escape, in one, based mostly on interviews with Tutsi survivors, he explored in unprecedented depth the witnesses' understanding of the psychology of evil and their courage in survival; in the second, he probed further, in talks with a group of Hutu killers about their acts of unimaginable depravity. Now, in The Antelope's Strategy, he returns to Rwanda seven years later to talk with both the Hutus and Tutsis he'd come to know—some of the killers who had been released from prison or returned from Congolese exile, and the Tutsi escapees who must now tolerate them as neighbors. How are they managing with the process of reconciliation? Do you think in their hearts it is possible? The enormously varied and always surprising answers he gets suggest that the political ramifications of the international community's efforts to insist on resolution after these murderous episodes are incalculable. This is an astonishing exploration of the pain of memory, the nature of stoic hope, and the ineradicability of grief.
"To make the effort to understand what happened in Rwanda is a painful task that we have no right to shirk–it is part of being a moral adult." –Susan Sontag In the late 1990s, French author and journalist Jean Hatzfeld made several journeys into the hilly, marshy region of the Bugesera, one of the areas most devastated by the Rwandan genocide of April 1994, where an average of five out of six Tutsis were hacked to death with machete and spear by their Hutu neighbors and militiamen. In the villages of Nyamata and N'tarama, Hatzfeld interviewed fourteen survivors of the genocide, from orphan teenage farmers to the local social worker. For years the survivors had lived in a muteness as enigmatic as the silence of those who survived the Nazi concentration camps. In Life Laid Bare, they speak for those who are no longer alive to speak for themselves; they tell of the deaths of family and friends in the churches and marshes to which they fled, and they attempt to account for the reasons behind the Tutsi extermination. For many of the survivors "life has broken down," while for others, it has "stopped," and still others say that it "absolutely must go on." These horrific accounts of life at the very edge contrast with Hatzfeld's own sensitive and vivid descriptions of Rwanda's villages and countryside in peacetime. These voices of courage and resilience exemplify the indomitable human spirit, and they remind us of our own moral responsibility to bear witness to these atrocities and to never forget what can come to pass again. Winner of the Prix France Culture and the Prix Pierre Mille, Life Laid Bare allows us, in the author's own words, "to draw as close as we can get to the Rwandan genocide."
In two acclaimed previous works, the noted French journalist Jean Hatzfeld offered a profound, harrowing witness to the unimaginable pain and horror in the mass killings of one group of people by another in Rwanda. Now, in The Strategy of Antelopes, he talks with both the Hutus and Tutsis he'd come to know - some of the killers who had been released from prison or returned from Congolese exile, and the Tutsi escapees who must now tolerate them as neighbours. How are they managing with the process of reconciliation? In their hearts is it possible? The enormously varied and always surprising answers he gets suggest that the political ramifications of the international community's efforts to insist on resolution after these murderous episodes are incalculable. This is an astonishing exploration of the pain of memory, the nature of hope, and the ineradicability of grief.
This book examines the mobilization, role, and trajectory of women rescuers and perpetrators during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. While much has been written about the victimization of women during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, very little has been said about women who rescued targeted victims or perpetrated crimes against humanity. This book explores and analyzes the role played by women who exercised agency as rescuers and as perpetrators during the genocide in Rwanda. As women, they took actions and decisions within the context of a deeply entrenched patriarchal system that limited their choices. This work examines two diverging paths of women’s agency during this period: to rescue from genocide or to perpetrate genocide. It seeks to answer three questions: First, how were certain Rwandan women mobilized to participate in genocide, and by whom? Second, what were the specific actions of women during this period of violence and upheaval? Finally, what were the trajectories of women rescuers and perpetrators after the genocide? Comparing and contrasting how women rescuers and perpetrators were mobilized, the actions they undertook, and their post-genocide trajectories, and concluding with a broader discussion of the long-term impact of ignoring these women, this book develops a more nuanced and holistic view of women’s agency and the genocide in Rwanda. This book will be of much interest to students of gender studies, genocide studies, African politics and critical security studies.
Chronicling horrific events that brought the 20th century to witness the largest number of systematic slaughters of human beings in any century across history, this work goes beyond historic details and examines contemporary psychological means that leaders use to convince individuals to commit horrific acts in the name of a politial or military cause. Massacres in Nanking, Rwanda, El Salvador, Vietnam, and other countries are reviewed in chilling detail. But the core issue is what psychological forces are behind large- scale killing; what psychology can be used to indoctrinate normal people with a Groupthink that moves individuals to mass murder brutally and without regret, even when the victims are innocent children. Dutton shows us how individuals are convinced to commit such sadistic acts, often preceded by torture, after being indoctrinated with beliefs that the target victims are unjust, inhuman or viral, like a virus that must be destroyed or it will destroy society.
Confronting killers with a combination of diplomacy, flatter, and deception, Paul Rusesabagina managed to shelter more than 1,200 Tutsis and moderate Hutus while homicidal mobs raged outside with machetes during the Rwandan genocide. His autobiography explores the inner life of the man in a way the film could not. Rusesabagina discusses the racial complexity within his own life - he is a Hutu married to a Tutsi - and his complete estrangement from the madness that surrounded him during the genocide. The book takes the reader inside the hotel during those 100 days, relates the anguish of those who saw loved ones hacked to pieces, and describes Rusesabagina's ambivalence at pouring the Scotch and lighting the cigars of killers in the Swimming Pool bar, even as he hid as many refugees as possible inside the guest rooms upstairs. Never-before-reported elements of the Rwandan genocide will be disclosed in this book, such as the lack of interest of the international community , and the disgraceful behavior of some of the UN peacekeeping troops, who purchased the cars of the Tutsis who had taken shelter inside the hotel. An Ordinary Man draws parallels between what happened in Rwanda with other genocides throughout history and asks the question: What causes an entire nation to go insane? It also offers an inside look at the problem of genocide and the responsibilities of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events. It concludes with an exploration of the tremendous power of words to sow hatred, but also to bring life and hope.