Author: Stephen Kinzer
Review By: G. Stephen Goode
This is an awful and a beautiful story of Rwanda, pre and post-genocide, a gripping story like you have never read before. It is a book about a country that was forgotten and how in this globalized world, that is not possible to do anymore without grave consequences. It is also an important story of a country that has come back from the brink of hell to a totally different future. It is a story that is taking place right now.
It is also the story of Paul Kagame, almost murdered at the age of two years along with his family by a death squad in the "practice genocide" of 1959, a refugee in Uganda most of his early life, a visionary guerilla leader with a simple dream to return to his homeland and now the President of Rwanda trying to bring this future into reality. This is a story of leadership and the script is being
Stephen Kinzer, an award-winning writer that has worked in more than 50 countries, has written a compelling, incredible book. It is history from a different perspective that I had not read about before. It is a book that many political leaders from Europe, the USA and most of all the UN will be upset about regarding the colonial period and specifically the genocide of 1994. When individuals and countries had the power to do something, most did little if nothing. Rwanda is a small, landlocked country with few resources. This was an African issue, tribes fighting tribes, colonial powers protecting their age-old self-interests. So most did nothing. That is the awfulness of a "A Thousand Hills" where the darkest part of the human soul came out with all of its hate and prejudice. Some wonder whether it will happen again.
However, this is not just another book about the genocide. It is a book about a audacious vision of turning Rwanda into a different place by 2020. It is about a leader with a dream of a secure and free Rwanda, reducing poverty, providing clean water, electricity and education in Rwanda and creating jobs, business, good governance and ending corruption to mention a few. There are incredible stories of what is taking place in Rwanda to make this dream a reality. There are also serious criticisms. One of the most stinging criticism lies at the door of the United Nations in 1994 and their failed peace-keeping efforts under the direction of Kofi Annan, their mis and/or failed-communication to the countries in the Security Council of what was actually taking place on the ground in Rwanda and their lack of taking any responsibility of that failure after the genocide. There are also criticism of the leadership of President Paul Kagame.
After reading this book, I want to know more. I want to go to Rwanda and see the changes and see what is happening. If radical change can happen like this in Rwanda, it can happen in any country. I highly recommend this book. Get your tickets...