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Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak (Rwanda #2)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  922 ratings  ·  102 reviews
In April-May 1994, 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis were massacred by their Hutu fellow citizens--about 10,000 a day, mostly being hacked to death by machete. In Machete Season, the veteran foreign correspondent Jean Hatzfeld reports on the results of his interviews with nine of the Hutu killers. They were all friends who came from a single region where they helped to kill 50,000 ou ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published April 18th 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2003)
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Nov 06, 2012 Mariel rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the farmer kills the cheese
Recommended to Mariel by: the farmer kills the mouse
"This gentleman I killed at the marketplace, I can tell you the exact memory of it because he was the first. For others, it's murky- I cannot keep track anymore in my memory. I considered them unimportant; at the time of those murders I didn't even notice the tiny thing that would change me into a killer."

Susan Sontag wrote the preface for Jean Hatzfeld's book Machete Season. She says: To make the effort to understand what happened in Rwanda is a painful task that we have no right to shirk- it i
With some books you get exactly what you expected, which in this case, was a bunch of ordinary guys from Rwanda talking about killing people with machetes, a lot. They were all interviewed at length in prison.

During the killings I no longer considered anything in the Tutsi except the person has to be done away with. I want to make clear that from the first gentleman I killed to the last, I was not sorry about a single one.

For anyone who needs reminding, the events described in this so easy to re
Regina Lindsey
"Ours is appallingly, an age of genocide, but even so, what happened in Rwanda in the spring of 1994 stands out in several ways. In a tiny, landlocked African country smaller than the state of Maryland, some 800,000 people were hacked to death, one by one, by their neighbors. The women, men, and children who were slaughtered were of the same race and shared the same language, customs, and confession (Roman Catholic) as those who eagerly slaughtered them." (pg 5) All this in twelve weeks.

Amazement. That`s my reaction to this book. So this journalist visits a Ruwandan prison and gets six of the Hutu executioners during the 1994 genocide to speak freely about their crimes. This time it is not a novel writer doing his best to sound spooky, this time it is not some sane, decent person like Primo Levy describing mass murder from the victim`s side. This time you get to the other side, as close as you can get to the real core of horror. What these men did goes so far beyond my experien ...more
This book is absolutely horrifying as it deals with first hand accounts of several killers from Rwanda during the genocide. I think I was looking for some kind of insight into the mentality of these killers, and how seemingly normal people could commit such acts of evil. Ultimately the complete banality and lack of remorse these killers felt, both during and after, the atricious murders of babies, neighbours, pregnant women etc., just left me feeling devasted.
I noticed that one of my Goodreads friends who is a Holocaust librarian was reading this book, so I decided to follow his lead. Words cannot begin to convey the depth and complexity of emotions which this book elicits. More than anything else, it is devastating, and insightful: giving the reader a glimpse into the minds of the Hutu killers during the Rwandan genocide.
All I can do is provide you with one small, chilling example of what one Hutu farmer thought when asked about the word genocide:
Joel Arnold
This book is largely comprised of interviews from the men who perpetrated the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. I definitely enjoyed the authenticity of hearing from e men themselves. The author also inserts some background information and occasional observations about the nature of genocide.

I enjoyed several things about this book:
1. It gave me a great understanding of the historical background for the events in Rwanda.
2. It gave me a small sense of what it would have been like to be there during the ev
Writer Philip Gourevitch has chosen to discuss Jean Hatzfeld’s Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak on FiveBooks as one of the top five on his subject - Rwanda, saying that:

Hatzfeld wound up going back to Rwanda and the whole group of killers who had been pursuing the survivors he’d been writing about in his first book were all in one prison nearby. And he arranged to meet with them on a regular basis, individually and collectively, to hear their stories. And it’s the most direct (I gue

"In a tiny, landlocked African country smaller than the state of Maryland, some 800,000 people were hacked to death, one by one, by their neighbors. The women, men, and children who were slaughtered were of the same race and shared the same language, customs, and confession (Roman Catholic) as those who eagerly slaughtered them." (p.vii)

"When there has been one genocide there can be another, at any time in the future, anywhere -- if the cause is still there and no one knows what it is"
Sharon Brown
I found this book after reading An Ordinary Man, the autobiography of Paul Rusesabagina, the man from the movie Hotel Rwanda who managed to help save over a thousand Rwandan refugees (both Hutu & Tutsi). The movie and the book both touched me so deeply when I saw this book I jumped right on it because it tells the other side of the story, from the perpetrators of the genocide. I couldn't (&still can't) understand how regular people like myself could just up and start killing people, thei ...more
Un testo complesso e difficile da leggere.
All'inizio, quando ho visto che si trattava di confrontare tra loro le testimonianze di un gruppo ristretto di "uccisori", temevo sarebbe stato ripetitivo o poco stimolante, rispetto ad un saggio più articolato sul genocidio in Ruanda.
Ma sbagliavo, l'autore è stato molto bravo nel dosare gli argomenti, nel riportare le interviste e nel contestualizzarle.
Di certo però è una lettura impegnativa più che per quello che raccontano di fatto gli intervistati
Among the many published books dealing with the Rwandan genocide, Machete Season is perhaps the most direct and honest one I have come across in a long time. Told from the perspective of 6 accused killers/participants, the accounts are frank, deliberate and breathtaking. The author borders on anthropologist as he visits the prison each day, collecting the stories from these men. Although he admits to their deceptive ways in the beginning of their sessions together, by the end of the process, the ...more
This is a very interesting series of interviews with some of the participants in the Rwandan genocide, who took up machetes and killed their neighbors. That said, I read this book in small doses, a chapter at a time, over a couple of months, and I can't imagine any other way. It takes time to absorb, and I think if you read it all at once it would lose some impact. I am glad the killers agreed to talk, and that they were interviewed - though their perspectives are, I admit, not something I can u ...more
Alexandra Loobeensky
Hutu w Jerozolimie

W lutym 2012 wydawnictwo Czarne polską edycją Sezonu maczet zamknęło trylogię rwandyjską Hatzfelda, słuszniej byłoby jednak nazwać ją trylogią o znieczulającym, obezwładniającym i usprawiedliwiającym wpływie innych i jego skutkach. A także o nieufności. Jean Hatzfeld przyjeżdża do więzienia w Rilimie, by tym razem oddać głos osadzonej tam grupce przyjaciół z Kibungo, zabójcom pochodzenia Hutu, nie bez wcześniejszych wątpliwości, czy w ogóle należy to robić – tak w skrócie można
Jean Hatzfeld interviews ten Hutus who participated in the Rwandan genocide while serving their terms in jail. The book is divided into sections of direct quotes made by the killers and some survivors and Hatzfeld's own challenge to understand how the killers' explanations fit into a larger context of genocides, politics and human nature. The killer's discussion about why and how the genocide happened and how they came to participate in it, and what they think of it now is nothing short of astou ...more
This is the last book I had to read for a school paper this semester. As per others I've had to read so far, it was rather tough to get through. Aside from the spring of 1994, Rwanda has seen violence and power struggles for decades. It would seem as if Rwanda is a country that has been ruled by violence for far too long - so long, in fact, that the inhabitants of the country don't know how to function in any other way.

To this day, the killers firmly believe in their actions during the spring of
Tariq Mahmood
The educated people were certainly the ones who drove the farmers on, out in the marshes. Today they're the ones who juggle with the words or turn close-mouthed. Many sit quietly in their same places as before. Some have become ministers or bishops; they aren't much in the public eye, but they still wear their fancy clothes and fold framed glasses. While suffering keeps us in prison. Adalbert, a Hutu farmer turned killer in the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

What a book. Its a book which is unlike any ot
Jul 02, 2007 david-baptiste rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
this is a devastating book--jean hatzfeld presents in a lucid prose the situation of the men who speak in this book--released war criminals, men who had a daily job of killing from 9 to 5--with a lunch break--beer after work--a ride to and from work--and now are being slowly reintegrated back into their society--
none of the things tha a reader may expect or hope or imagine to hear from these men is here--the range of tones in which the words take place is a dimension which is at once so complete
Madelaine Hron
This account of the killers of Rwanda is simply electrifying. There are no words to describe the horror that was Rwanda, but here 10 perpetrators give their account over 200 pp, testifying to the banality of evil and the mentality of serial killers.

Let me simply the first line of this testimonial:
"During that killing season we rose earlier than usual to eat lots of meat, and we went up to the soccer field at around nine or ten o'clock. The leaders would grumble about latecomers, and we would go
Jean H did a great job coaxing interviews from the Rwandan killers, and their words, for the most part true, are shocking and insightful. Hard to draw any conclusions. Sometimes you feel fascination, like slowing down to view a car wreck- and that isn't necessarily healthy. You run through different emotions as you read what the killers have to say- and even wonder if thy aren't somehow victims themselves. Jean H isn't the most impartial journalist, and I often wished he would not interject his ...more
Imaginez ! Vous vous levez chaque matin pour rejoindre votre bande d’amis sur le terrain de foot du village. Vous écoutez les instructions et les recommandations des miliciens, et au coup de sifflet vous partez à pied, la machette à la main en direction des marais et des forêts en chantant des airs populaires. Vous débusquez les avoisinants tutsis qui n’appartiennent pas à la même ethnie que vous, cachés dans la brousse. Vous « coupez » hommes, femmes et enfants tutsis car ils sont les « fautifs ...more
I think I was more disturbed by the interviewees complete lack of onus than even the descriptions of their actions. Like they're not at all responsible for killing their countrymen with machetes. Machetes.

Of course you would expect this book to be brutal, violent. The very nature of the title implies horrific brutality ahead - caution. Still, the images they painted weren't as visceral as some fiction I've read, though that it's factual is distrubing enough. I just could not get over how it was
This book was interesting, morbid, and hard to follow at times. The way the author organized it really made it hard to follow the stories and learn the men. Also, it contradicts itself numerous times (which is understandable since it's a bunch of killers talking but it made it difficult to really grasp everything).

So overall I'd recommend it to some.
Kirsten Hobbs
I struggle to rate this because I did not finish it. I do think it is an important piece of the Rwanda genocide story, but I could not handle the details. It was truly haunting. What I hoped to gain from this book was an answer to the questions "Why did these killers do it?" and mostly "how could they do it?" My questions were well on the way to being answered in the 1/3 of the book that I read, but it was too disturbing to continue. The men describe their first killings, their training or lack ...more
Krys (Black & Write Reviews)
Via Black 'n Write Review
My final thoughts:

All in all, this book is a very depthy read, which to the readers discretion, is a mix of falsities and truth. The killers who were interviewed have consistently remained to tell things as if they might’ve been the victim twisted with the reality they were corrupted by their own elders that were part of the ancien régime, but they often don’t realize how difficult the act of forgiveness would be by the survivors. Their hopes that these people would just
Very good book>> listens to the voice of the killers during the Genocide. Probably the most powerful line for me was,

"In truth, it came to me only afterward; I had taken the life of a neighbor. I mean, at the fatal instant I did not see in him what he had been before; I struck someone who was no longer either close or stranger to me, who wasn't exactly ordinary anymore, I'm saying like the people you meet every day. His features were indeed similar to those of the person I knew, but nothi
I chose to not finish this one. I got about half way done but was a bit too disturbed to read any further. I do have to say that it was very well written, and I think it is an important book. Therefore, I applaud the author for taking such a brave step in gaining the trust of the killers so that our questions might be answered.

The interviews with the killers shed light on the mystery of how human beings could suddenly commit such horrendous acts for 100 days straight during the Rwandan 1994 gen
Awful topic, but an extremely insightful book when examining the perpetrators of genocide on a civilian level. (Read in a history class)
Più che bello, è interessante, ha un approccio non abusato, tutt'altro: non per sminuire i racconti delle vittime, dei sopravvissuti (sui quali però esiste talvolta un giochino speculativo da parte degli autori) che sono testimonianze pregnanti e indispensabili.
Qui, la parola è ai carnefici: entrare nel cuore nero di un assassino, di un boia, per me, è più arduo che comprendere le ragioni delle vittime, per le quali l'empatia nasce spontanea, e il processo di immedesima
Chilling read.
An insight on how ordinary people turned into killers during the Rwandan Genocide.
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Jean Hatzfeld is a journalist. He worked for many years as a war correspondent for Libération, a French newspaper, before leaving to focus on reporting the Rwandan genocide.
More about Jean Hatzfeld...
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak The Antelope's Strategy: Living in Rwanda After the Genocide Robert Mitchum ne revient pas Englebert des collines La Ligne de flottaison

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“...and my eyes no longer gaze the same on the face of the world.” 12 likes
“The truth is not believable to someone who has not lived it in his muscles.” 3 likes
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