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We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families

Updated: Apr 9

“Killing Tutsis was a political tradition in postcolonia Rwanda; it brought people together.” - Philip Gourevitch

a white chair sits empty by the beach

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families is an unforgettable firsthand account of the Rwandan and neighboring states genocide of the Tutsi minority. In 1994, some 800,000 people were executed, largely by machete, in a matter of a hundred days. Gourevitch chronicles the horror of Rwanda’s “genocidal logic” and its wretched aftermath: the mass displacements, impossibly crowded prisons and refugee camps and the quest for justice. Arguably, international concern was focused more on disease than genocide with the French army intervening in favor of the killers and the U.S. government not intervening at all.

This book is quite affecting, and while the author is undoubtedly partisan, it is a well-written account of a harrowing part of recent history. We so often turn away from the horrible sadness and injustices in this world, but Gourevitch’s writing won’t let you.

Discussion Questions

  1. Can a country composed largely of perpetrators and victims create a cohesive society?

  2. “What distinguishes genocide from murder, and even from acts of political murder that claim as many victims, is the intent. The crime is wanting to make a people extinct. The idea is the crime.” Reflect on that.

  3. Stalin said, “One person’s death is a tragedy; a million deaths are only a statistic.” How does this ring true of the Tutsi genocide? How did the community and surrounding nations turn a blind eye?

  4. “You cannot count on the international community unless you're rich, and we are not[...] We don't have oil, so it doesn't matter that we have blood, or that we are human beings.” Explore this statement. How does the international community ignore such atrocities when it’s not in their immediate interest to intervene? Are there current events in other nation states that speak to this statement today?

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