We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda

Front Cover
Macmillan, 1998 - History - 355 pages

An unforgettable firsthand account of a people's response to genocide and what it tells us about humanity.

This remarkable debut book chronicles what has happened in Rwanda and neighboring states since 1994, when the Rwandan government called on everyone in the Hutu majority to murder everyone in the Tutsi minority. Though the killing was low-tech--largely by machete--it was carried out at shocking speed: some 800,000 people were exterminated in a hundred days. A Tutsi pastor, in a letter to his church president, a Hutu, used the chilling phrase that gives Philip Gourevitch his title.

With keen dramatic intensity, Gourevitch frames the genesis and horror of Rwanda's "genocidal logic" in the anguish of its aftermath: the mass displacements, the temptations of revenge and the quest for justice, the impossibly crowded prisons and refugee camps. Through intimate portraits of Rwandans in all walks of life, he focuses on the psychological and political challenges of survival and on how the new leaders of postcolonial Africa went to war in the Congo when resurgent genocidal forces threatened to overrun central Africa.

Can a country composed largely of perpetrators and victims create a cohesive national society? This moving contribution to the literature of witness tells us much about the struggle everywhere to forge sane, habitable political orders, and about the stubbornness of the human spirit in a world of extremity.

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families is the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
25
4 stars
16
3 stars
5
2 stars
0
1 star
0

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - starbox - LibraryThing

This was a much more political work than I had originally imagined from the emotive title. Nonetheless it was pretty readable and is really an account par excellence of the 1994 Rwanda massacre ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Faith_Murri - LibraryThing

All at once, as it seemed, something we could have only imagined was upon us—and we could still only imagine it. This is what fascinates me most in existence: the peculiar necessity of imagining what ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (1998)

Philip Gourevitch is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a contributing editor to the Forward. He has reported from Africa, Asia, and Europe for a number of magazines, including Granta, Harper's, and The New York Review of Books. He lives in New York City.

Bibliographic information