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Surviving the Slaughter: The Ordeal of a Rwandan Refugee in Zaire (Women in Africa and the Diaspora)

Surviving the Slaughter: The Ordeal of a Rwandan Refugee in Zaire (Women in Africa and the Diaspora)
Author: Marie Beatrice Umutesi
ISBN 13: 9780299204945
ISBN 10: 299204944
Edition: 1
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Publication Date: 2004-10-05
Format: Paperback
Pages: 284
List Price: $24.95

The world's cameras were there in 1994 when the majority Hutu slaughtered the minority Tutsi by the thousands in Rwanda. However, when the Hutu ran for their lives in turn when the Tutsi minority retaliated by taking political control of Rwanda, the world did not seem to care. Umutesi, a sociologist, was forced to flee on foot to Zaire along with hundreds of thousands of Hutu. She witnessed the intimidation, cruelty, and slaughter of the Hutu by their enemies and unaligned opportunists, moving from death camp to death camp. Eventually, passing as Congolese rather than Rwandan, Umutesi managed to flee to Belgium. Once there she was able to speak her own language, but still wondered if she was truly at the end of the nightmare. Umutesi's account gives the brutal reality of her daily situation amongst those whose lives, like her own, depended on their Hutu or Tutsi features. This volume includes maps and chronologies of Umutesi's life and the events in Rwanda. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Publishers Weekly

"I have been through Hell, have known horror, and now that I have escaped... I give testimony to what I have seen." So begins Umutesi's personal account of the bloody ethnic confrontations between Tutsi and Hutu in Rwanda and neighboring Zaire, culminating in the 1994 slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutus. A Hutu often "taken for a Tutsi," sociologist Umutesi fled to Zaire in 1994 and spent two years in the refugee camps, witnessing the destruction of the camps and the subsequent ethnic massacres of Hutu refugees by Rwandan soldiers and Zairian rebels. Her tone encompasses both a sociologist's objectivity and a sufferer's anguish, describing malnutrition and famine, cholera and dysentery, panic and brutality. There were two genocides, this book argues, with barbaric acts committed by and against Hutus and permitted by an international community that "seemed more interested in gross acts of war than in the plight of the people being killed every day, of those who were hiding in the ceilings, woods, ditches, and swamps." Acts of kindness and heroism occur, but this is painful, bitter reading. Umutesi is unable to answer the question with which she began-"What led us to this extremity?"-but her compelling account of that extremity is a valuable historical document. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.