When Victims Become Killers

This is an academic book looking in detail at the history of Rwanda and its neighbors and how that led to the 1994 genocide. Despite being difficult to read due to dry writing, I recommend it highly.

When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda by Mahmood Mamdani was recommended to me by Sepoy of Chapati Mystery.

It took me forever to finish this book because it is a difficult read. The density of information is good, but there’s also the dry, academic style of writing.

Mamdani covers the big picture of Rwandan history and how that led to the 1994 genocide. His central thesis is that Hutu and Tutsi identities are basically political identities forged over the years before, during and after colonialism. Mamdani also discusses the history of the whole region (Uganda and Congo etc.) and how that affected events in Rwanda.

Overall, it is a good companion to We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch which focuses on the genocide itself.

Author: Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer