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God Sleeps in Rwanda: A Journey of Transformation
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God Sleeps in Rwanda: A Journey of Transformation

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  281 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Joseph Sebarenzi’s parents, seven siblings, and countless other family members were among 800,000 Tutsi brutally murdered over the course of ninety days in 1994 by extremist Rwandan Hutu—an efficiency that exceeded even that of the Nazi Holocaust. His father sent him away to school in Congo as a teenager, telling him, “If we are killed, you wi ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published September 8th 2009 by Atria Books
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Ben Babcock
The Rwandan genocide is one of those events that looms in my mind as something that happened when I was alive but too young to really understand that there was a world outside of my country, or even my community, really. Politics was something that came via the television, an artifact of the history we were studying in school, not a daily fact of life. War and genocide was something that had happened in the past, long ago and far away. I was lucky, because I grew up in Canada, where hardship is ...more
Kho Liang
Emotionally stirring and thought provoking book. Joseph Sebarenzi put forth a very realistic question in this book, that is, when catastrophe of a huge magnitude strikes, and when stakes are high, how many of the international community are ready to help? "Never again", as the congregate of nations came together to pledge in the aftermath of the Holocaust, was nothing but an empty pledge as we now begin to see, that what really is at play is not ideology or human conscience, but power politics a ...more
This book offered a lot. First a very concise description of the history of Rwanda, then an account of
the author's experiences in regard to the genocide. Sebarenzi holds the descriptions of actual violence to a minimum. What is amazing is his journey from hatred and a desire for revenge to forgiveness and an amazing effort to bring reconciliation to his country. Joseph Sebarenzi is an incredible man.
Mafoya Dossoumon
This book provided a completely new perspective on Rwanda and the leadership style of President Paul Kagame. If the author is to be believed, the president of Rwanda ruthlessly deals with any dissent including physical elimination. I liked the fact that the author proposes solutions on how to foster sustainable peace in Rwanda. The author's life story is enthralling and gives food for thought.
Meh - had a difficult time getting past the amateurish writing and contradictory and omnipresent religious observations. Additionally his views are generally one-sided and while I appreciate that this is autobiographical there are ways of presenting alternate perspectives and/or grounding your experiences with historical references outside your bubble - the author was unwilling to do this to a fault and it therefore discounted most of his observations for me. Especially when measured against the ...more
I'm giving this book a high rating because of the content, not the writing. A memoir by a man who was one of the first speakers of the house of the new democracy following the genocide. Extremely interesting look into the challenges of a new democracy particularly one in which the military holds a good portion of the seats in Parliament. It is cowritten by the subject of the memoir with someone whom I presume is a professional writer. It is not a match made in heaven in terms of the writing, tho ...more
Azwa Ahmad
Genocide-themed stories have always been my liking. However for this particular book, Sebarenzi has kept the violence best at minimal and educate the readers heavily on post-genocide reformations initiated by the government to rebuild the battle-scarred country.

For the first few chapters, he thrilled the readers with tidbits of his childhood memories –the description of Lake Kivu and his appreciation towards the lake and also the honor he felt derived from raising cows were few that I found war
Story of life in modern Rwanda from 1970's to present. He was sent to finish elementary and high school on an island in DRC and was one of the few members of his family to survive the genocide and he was Tutsi and had fled to Canada. After the genocide he and his wife went back to try to help rebuild the country and he became speaker of the house. But Kigame the VP who eventually became dictator forced him out again. A very powerful story of the tragedy in Rwanda but also of forgiveness. He work ...more
I loved this book. I cannot wait for it to come out in the fall so I can make as many people as possible read it.

I expected a memoir similar to Ishmael Beah's "A Long Way Gone", chronicling the experiences of a young boy during the Rwandan genocide. Sebarenzi's memoir does this, in part, but his memoir tells his story from boyhood into adulthood. This was an eye-opening read for me, because Sebarenzi lays out the political situation of the country in the years following the genocide, and it is d
April Helms
A very moving and powerful book. Sebarenzi had been sent to the Congo to further his education, and thus his life was spared during the 1994 Rwandan genocide- but his parents and most of his immediate family were slaughtered. Later he became the speaker of Rwandan's parliament (by his own admission because of his youth and lack of political experience; those in power hoped to manipulate him,) but once again had to flee his country with his family after he ran afoul of the country's vice presiden ...more
I was expecting this book to be more about the Rwanda genocide, but it wasn't because Sebarenzi wasn't in the country during the genocide, so he has no first-person accounts to tell thereof.

Nevertheless, the book was really interesting, and the writing flowed in a way that made it an enjoyable read. The greater part of the book focuses on Sebarenzi's political career as parliamentary speaker after the Rwandan genocide. He speaks a great deal about political corruption, fear, and autocratic rule
Fon Lertviriyavanich
Me. Sebarenzi's story is very interesting and very much heartbreaking. However, I am very happy for him for the fact that he is able to get pass all the nightmares about the genocide and the threat of his life by the government and is now advocating about peaceful reconciliation.

I think his analysis on how to reunite Tutsis and Hutus in Rwanda is very thought provoking. I agree with him that the reconciliation will have to start at the individual level. It is definitely rightful for the victims
This book gives a very account of one mans experience of the Rwandan genocide as well as it's aftermath.

In this book we learn of the history of animosity between the Hutu and the Tutsi,previous attacks leading up to the genocide in 1994,the genocide itself and Joseph Sebarenzi's life growing up in Rwanda and his experience during the genocide.

The book also focuses on the aftermath of the genocide and Rwanda's attempt to rebuild itself, Bill Clintons speech of apology and the negative reaction fa
Carrie Emmerson
A powerful story, well told. He gives great insight into the history and politics of Rwanda, its 1994 genocide, and efforts to rebuild afterwards, based largely on his personal experience. Most powerful, though, is his positive message of reconciliation and commitment to his country, which persists despite great tragedy and those who conspire to hold power for themselves at the expense of others.
I had the opportunity to meet the author and hear him speak in June. I was truly inspired by his story and the book provided me with all the parts of his story I wanted to know more about. What a great man! Genocide is rough to read about, but I learned much from this account.

"This book is dedicated to all those who work for peace and reconciliation in Rwanda and in other parts of the world. May your commitment and dedication prosper, and may your work yield fruit in nations and in people's hearts.

I also dedicate this book to the brave men and women who took the risk to protect, hide, or rescue fellow Rwandans during the genocide in 1994 and to all the people around the world who endeavor to do good, even in evil times."

~ Joseph Sebarenzi

--- It is estimate
Incredibly powerful! The history that he shared about Rwanda was so helpful. His capacity to forgive and work toward reconciliation is truly amazing - someone to be admired!
I really liked this book, because it gave a really concise but no-nonsense summary of the impact of colonization on ethnic conflict in Rwanda - I had no idea that the Belgian impact on Rwanda really exacerbated (though maybe not created) the conflict. It was a really personal account without being overly dramatic, which makes it all the more real. I also loved the pieces on reconciliation and forgiveness as the last few chapters - it reads like a beautifully written self-help book but in a way t ...more
Dominic Bascombe
A greatly moving personal account of the horrors of the Rwandan genocide a well as a tale of personal triumph.
Highly recommended.
This book gave a unique perspective on the rebuilding process that occurs after genocide. Sebarenzi's take is refreshing, albeit somewhat repetitive with his use of language at times, with emphasis on the complexity of corruption that comes with new nations (both newly independent and newly reformed). I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the Rwandan Genocide, who has read Dallaire and Orbinski, and would like a more comprehensive view on the political issues and governance.
Adam Hummel
Beautiful book by a phenomenal author. Enjoyed this book and the direction that it took.
Interesting, informative and touching. I learned a lot about Rwanda and the current and former political structure there. Explains things very well so its a good choice for someone like me who read it knowing next to nothing about the genocide.

A bit repetitive. Many of the points were repeated several times throughout the novel. I would have liked to hear more about the genocide itself as opposed to the political aftermath. A little overboard on the faith/God aspects.
If you wanted to know more about rwanda and their history on civil war and genocide, this is the best book by far. Saberanzi spoke right from his heart and it is translated in this book. From the history of hutu and tutsi, his childhood, his father, his term as a speaker and how he ended being betrayed by his own countrymen, all of it really touch the core of my heart. While living in exile, saberanzi continued his effort on reconciliation and forgiveness.
Donna Burtwistle-Popplewell
A book about genocide is always going to be intense and shocking. In this book, Joseph Sebarenzi delivers a compelling first-hand account of the devestating history of Rwanda from his memories of childhood up to his current situation. It revealed a comprehensive timeline of the racism and ethnocentric culture of Rwanda, but also described a beautiful people who were merely pawns in the sights of their corrupt leaders. Eye-opening, for sure.
Fred Rose
"I sort of recommend this. A good beginning and end salvage it. A first hand account of growing up in Rwanda, before, during and after the genocide. The author is Tutsi and became speaker of the parliament after the genocide. That part is a little slow but the view of a person in that situation is worth reading. How the author deals with it and his forgiveness of others (and how he came to terms with that) are well worth reading."
lots of new info
Bob Alexander
Very interesting read for those interested in the current state of affairs in Rwanda written by a man who had to escape his country out of fear for the lives of himself and his family after serving in the Rwandan Parliament. Gives a new perspective on the current president of Rwanda and on what needs to happen in the areas of peace, harmony, forgiveness and reconciliation, not only in Rwanda, but in our own hearts.
Sebarenzi probably appeared half a dozen years too early in the post-1994 history of Rwanda. The country wasn't yet ready for the reforms he sought to make Parliament an effective legislative body and counter-balance to the Executive. But let us hope that more like him will appear on the Rwandan political scene, particularly as we move to a post-Kagame future in 2017.
This was another book I just picked up at the library - strolling through and thought this would be a good read. It really was. The author's life story (so far) was inspiring and I really learned a lot about Rwandan history & politics. The book includes his life story as it was impacted by violence, genocide, and politics. Highly recommended.
Very interesting story of the Rwandan genocide. It isn't extremely graphic or gross. Tells this man's (Joseph Sebarenzi) story and how the genocide affected him. The transformation he addresses in the book is not only of his country, but of individuals. No matter the injustices that he suffered, he learned to forgive. Awesome book!
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