Hotel Rwanda

Hotel Rwanda is a very moving film about the Rwandan genocide. Few films bring me to tears but this one did. It felt so strange seeing the dramatized version of the killings and the inaction of the world community. I wonder if anyone ever meant the “Never Again” slogan about genocide. Now it looks like genocide happening in Darfur and still there is no action.

Anyway the movie was really good and I would rate it 9/10.

I was thinking about reading about Rwanda and the genocide. But I am not sure if I want to read only about the 100 days of genocide and their immediate background or more general histories that also cover the genocide. May be you guys can recommend some books. Here are two books about the genocide that look worth a read:

  1. Shake Hands with the Devil : The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda by Roméo Dallaire, the Canadian general who was in charge of the UN forces there.
  2. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch.

Any thoughts about these two books? Can you recommend any others?

By Zack

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


  1. Gourevitch’s book is a must-read. Also, Samantha Power’s A Problem from Hell looks at the role played by the in-action of US. It’s a heavy tome but I like it. Last, is Mamdani’s book on colonialism and rwanda – -the title escapes me.

  2. Jared Diamond’s “Collapse” includes a section on the Rwandan Genocide. He highlights a malthusian undercurrent that flowed through the event, helping to drive human behavior to depths sadly tested earlier in the twentieth century.

  3. Yes, that’s the one. You should give Powers a try, nonetheless. Also, Mamdani has a more recent book on Islam in America [Good Muslim, Bad Muslim, I think] which I have not read but heard from good people that it is worth reading. this gives me an idea for a post at CM – of summer reading lists.

  4. Diamond relies heavily on a single study that attempted to correlate percent extermination with population diversity. In diverse parts of Rwanda, the study found high rates of murder, as expected. But, they also found that significant numbers were murdered in relatively homogenous regions. Upon examining average farm plot size and demographic information for those murdered in the homogenous regions, a Malthusian specter rose from the data.

  5. sepoy: I have added Power’s book in my long reading list on your recommendation.

    Captain_Arrrgh: When you say “homogenous,” do you mean homogenous Hutu areas since I would expect largely Tutsi areas to have high massacre rates? It might be worthwhile to look at the actual study rather than Diamond’s description of it.

  6. Hotel Rwanda

    “‘Oh, my God, that’s horrible,’ and then go on eating their dinners.”
    That’s true, right? When you and me saw this movie, we were crying for them. But that’s at all. We wouldn’t do anymore. Unless the res…

  7. 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.

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