Nathanial's Reviews > We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Ou... by Philip Gourevitch
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Jan 18, 08

bookshelves: political-science
Recommended for: a person who is not a killer
Read in December, 2008

"I presume that you are reading this because you desire a closer look," says Philip Gourevitch, early in his reportage, "and that you, too, are properly disturbed by your curiosity." Gouveritch set out for Rwanda one year after the Tutsi majority systematically directed the mass slaughter of seventy-five percent of the Hutu minority. "Perhaps," he continues, "in examining this extremity, you hope for some understanding, some insight, some flicker of self-knowledge - a moral, or a lesson, or a clue about how to behave in this world: some such information. I don't discount the possibility, but when it comes to genocide, you already know right from wrong."

Our task, then, in reading and writing such books, is to trace how a person can forget that they know right from wrong. At the end of the introductory chapter, Gourevitch recounts a man who described how a "person who is not a killer" begins to become one. "It's become a game for him," says a survivor of one such massacre." So how do people learn to think of killing as a game? And, to take Gouveritch's task out of the tribal and ethnic context of Rwanda, how do people begin to decide that their lives would be better if a specific group of others - immigrants, prisoners, or queers - simply disappeared?...
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