We just started reading the book We Wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families by Philip Gourevitch. This story was very informal because the only time I had learned about the Rwandan genocide was brief and through the movie “Hotel Rwanda”. I enjoyed this first half of the book and I find this genocide slightly different therefore more intuguing to learn about.
This story focuses on the Rwandan genocide between the Hutu’s and Tutsi’s. It begins with some background and slowly begins with explaining the genocide. There are some stories from interviews with survivors, Tutsi survivors, explaining how much hiding and lying had to happen in order to survive. One story that caught my attention was about a girl, Odette, who is now a very successful doctor but survived as a child during the fighting. Odette had to travel miles, even getting rejected from her step uncle because she was a Tutsi. She saw her house burned down and hid in bushes for months to survive. It amazes me how she has managed to put that part of her life behind her and move along to such an extent. She became an extremely positive and successful pediatrician and tells her past to whoever asks, embracing it yet also pushing it behind her.
Another point made in this book that surprised me was the labeling of Hutu or Tutsi through physical appearance. Both looked incredibly similar but people still found any way to label them. The main physical difference was straight or frizzy hair, and people would be accused of lying about their identity if their hair didn’t fit into the norm of Hutu or Tutsi. What surprised me the most about this was how important physical appearances are in society. Even the smallest thing, such as hair, was enough to label somebody. Overall, I believe all genocides that have occurred definitely reflect on how human societies are, and how they shouldn’t be.
In Rwanda today how are the Hutu’s and Tutsi’s? Are the names still used, or are they ignored? How many memorials are there? Is this history taught?
What is the mental and physical consequences of survivors from this genocide? Have there ever been any pyscological or biological studies on the survivors?
What was the impact on tourists during this event? Were they able to evacuate? How many were killed, if any?