We Wish To Inform You Of An Excellent Book

I've been reading an excellent, albeit devastating book lately: Philip Gourevitch's We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families (Picador, 1999), a report on the Rwandan genocide. I've wanted to read it for some time, out of a sense of niggling guilt over neglecting to pay proper attention to one of the most heinous crimes to occur in my lifetime. Reading it confirms both the horrible nature of the crime and the feeling of guilt, and adds a new perspective to my entire reading of twentieth century international politics. Which, given that I've studied the subject for years, is saying something.

I don't think I'll ever be able to think about the Clinton administration the same way again. Forget Lewinsky—this was his greatest offence: failure to act swiftly as leader of the free world against the worst state-sponsored genocide since the Holocaust. The United Nations stands similarly indicted, and the whole question of whether grand ideals of human rights are any more meaningful and useful fifty years after the Holocaust than fifty years before it is thrown severely into doubt.

I strongly encourage anyone who cares about human rights to read this book. But if you can't make it to your nearest bookstore this afternoon, try these excellent online resources, which give a good flavour of it: a PBS interview with Gourevitch; and a public conversation with him at the University of California at Berkeley.


First published in The Week Link, 19 March 2001.
This page: 5 April 2001.

©2001 Rory Ewins