We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families By Philip Gourevithc BOOK REVIEW & SOCIAL COMMENTARY PAPER Gourevitch, Philip. We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will be Killed with our Families. My presentation today is over Philip Gourevitch book We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will be Killed with our Families First I will shortly say a little bit what the book is about, then I am going to tell how its got its title, after that I will tell about Rwanda in general, and finally I will talk about the Hutus and Tutsis. In the book We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families, Mr. Gourevitch explains why the Rwandan genocide should not be written off as just another tribal dispute.The stories in this book are both the authors and the people he interviews, as he repeatedly visits Rwanda in an attempt to make sense of what happened. Some of the people he interviewed include: a Tutsi doctor who has seen much of her family killed over decades of Tutsi oppression, a hotel manager who hid hundreds of refugees from certain death, and a Rwandan bishop who has been accused of supporting the slaughter of Tutsi schoolchildren.
The title, We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families, comes from a letter that was sent in the midst of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 by seven Tutsi pastors, members of Rwanda’s Tutsi minority. They were inside a church where they’d taken refuge, as many Rwandans who were slated for death did, and at that point, everybody in the Tutsi minority was slated for death. They’d taken refuge in the church headquarters–this was an Adventist church in western Rwanda.
And they had been told that they were slated to be massacred the next day. So these pastors got together and they wrote a letter to the president of the Adventist Church, who was also a pastor and a Hutu and the president of the church for this entire region. So they wrote, `Dear leader, we hope that you’re well in these times that are so trying. We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families.
‘ And the letter went on in, really, only about two or three more sentences to say, `And we hope that you will intercede on our behalf and try to help us at this time, as a man of influence, as the president of the church, to go and talk to the mayor, to try and help stay the authorities who are planning to kill us.’ The author met some of the survivors of that church, of whom there are very, very few, although there were thousands of people. And they were killed the next day.All of those pastors were killed the next day. And what happened was that not only had the church president failed to intercede on their behalf but that he was widely held to have actually helped organize the massacre.
And, in fact, the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has issued an indictment against him as an organizer of the massacres. Next I will tell a little bit about Rwanda: Rwanda is located in the center of Africa. In the so called genocide period of 1994, which started on April 6th,1994 and lasted for 100 days, somewhere between 800.
000 and one million people were systematically murdered.The original population was about 7.5 million people, so that means that about 10% of the total population was killed.
The killings were done with hand-held implements like; hammers, garden tools, sticks, clubs, and also guns and grenades. The size of Rwanda can be compared to the size of West Virginia, and the average median income is $80 a year. Finally I will talk about the Hutus and the Tutsis: 85 % out of a population of seven and a half million or so were Hutus. The Rwandan government rigged the census numbers when it came to Tutsis because they wanted to have certain percentages.In other words, the government claimed that 9 percent of the population were Tutsis. While the real number was15 percent. Why would the government want that? This was a Hutu dictatorship. Everything was based on quotas.
If they shrunk the number of Tutsis, they shrank the number of Tutsis who had access to school, education, civil service jobs and various kinds of advancement.The difference between Hutus and Tutsis can be explained by how they became different social categories in Rwanda. The difference is that for the entire colonial period, a very strict concept of Tutsis as a superior race and Hutus as an inferior race, this elite minority of Tutsis who lorded it over them and who essentially harnessed their labor and exploited them as monarchist class, they became privileged and an almost apartheid like system was imposed – identity cards defining their ethnicity- and this is how this social- ethnical categories was created. This system was created by the Belgians who Rwanda was colonized with until their independence in 1962. When independent, this reversed itself and the Hutu majority came to lord over the Tutsi minority, and essentially with violence. Now there are physical characteristics that will tell you who belongs to what group, Tutsis are said to be tall and skinny, and Hutus are said to be short and fat.There’s a lot of talk about the failure of the world in Rwanda, the failure to act.
It was a success at not acting, and it was the United States that wanted not to act. Clinton said at the time, `The world must sometimes learn how to say no.’ It turned out that it was say no to the plea for help of hundreds of thousands of lives that were then lost. I want to end this presentation with saying that there are 125,000 people in prison today accused of genocide. Book Reports.