Gourevitch’s research on Rwanda deserves a little bit more credibility, even after all these years since he wrote We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families. It is not just evidence of outstanding journalism but a recount of values that are shared by all of humanity. It is a sensational book that summons the infamous history that is always going to follow the country of Rwanda.
Crimes against humanity have overly and repeatedly befallen the world but it has never been something acceptable or something to get used to. While Gourevitch’s highly celebrated line in this book ‘I had never been among the dead before’ might initially prompt turmoil in the eyes of the victims and the offended, it rather carries the idea of and the inability to digest this inexplicable tragedy that befell Rwanda.
While it usually comes to drawing a line between the offenders and the offended, while describing this tragedy, the simple yet very complex examination is of each one’s actions and inactions before and during its occurrence.
Gourevitch is more comfortable using ethnic groups and describing their traits when it comes to tradition, customs and basic history but also noting the delicacy of the arising conflicts that occurred over the years. Elsewhere and majorly, the offenders are illustrated as human beings who had a decision to make, to do bad or good, to love or hate, to behave or misbehave but above all, revealed as beings that were capable of being rational about life and its worth.
Here they were, presented with a test of conscious and more than sufficient time to think about it all. At the end of the day, be it the offenders themselves and the people/organisations who could have intervened remarkably yielded collective failure, indecisiveness, and abandon. Everything else in line but ignorance.
The case of genocide in Rwanda will always be a delicate one, because one of its numerous downsides, deeper than the offenders ever realized or imagined, is the ambiguous state of avoidance, the possibility of presenting understatements, exaggerations and, more dangerously, failure to come to an endpoint of how this could have happened.
Gourevitch’s book is a relatable tale that brings the reader into the experience brought about by trauma and conflict; one whose failure to prevent is a point to grow from.