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We Wish to Inform You

In Rwanda, just within the period of 100 days during the spring and early summer of 1994, around 800, 000 people were charred to death in the most horrible state sponsored genocide, even more severe than the Nazi Holocaust. Philip Gourevitch, a staff writer for the New Yorker presented this most lucid and extremely revealing account and the way genocide took its ugly shape in his heart rendering book, “We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families.

” Gourevitch explored this terrible play of blood bath revolving around myth to the hatred between the two tribes not because of any economic reason but political overtures and ambitions and overall sense of racism eugenics being played during the control of the Belgium administration. This incident was judged by westernized nations as a sudden outburst between the Tutsi and Hutu ethnic groups.

Gourevitch showed though there was no single obvious reason behind the killing yet this mass violence was nothing less than a deep politically organized movement initiated by Hutu power to overcome Tutsis and attain economic and political dominance over Rwanda. Genocide was the work of Hutu regime through demonstrations on radio, and Hutu’s famous pop singers. Hutus openly declared, “You cockroaches must know you are made flesh,” a broadcaster gloated over RTLM. “We won’t let you kill. We will kill you (114).

” But when sudden riots took place, it could not remain confined to the state but became a public mass killings involving all and sundry and became the most ruthless and collective form of killing. Through the real life incidents, Philip Gourevitch never had any inclination to make the incident a historical account in which he was successful. Through the words, he had captured ghastliness of the incident through his prose by making us realize the depth of the atrocities we human beings could really enter into. His prose made our eyes glued to indecipherable cruelty that was made almost impossible to comprehend and understand.

Gourevitch’s along with the killings or mass murder of the Rwandans, also reflected the beauty of Rwanda that nature has provided with its splendor form of “red clay and black loam marking with fresh hoe work, eucalyptus trees flashing silver against brilliant green tea plantations; banana trees are everywhere. On the theme of hills, Rwanda produces countless variations: jagged rain forests, round-shouldered buttes, undulating moors, broad swells of savanna, volcanic peaks sharp as filed teeth (20)” against the back drop of the story of the missing people and the emptiness.

While traversing through these towns and grasslands, “mass graves were discovered and excavated, and the remains would be transferred to new, properly consecrated mass graves (21)”. The genocide was brought to an end by the Rwandese Patriotic Front, constituting rebel refugees from the previous persecutions, and as the force moved through the area during the summer of 1994, around two million Hutus had already escaped into exile by coaxing of the leaders who had initiated these killings.

Gourevitch wrote around the rural areas in the South where Tutsis while on exile left nothing behind but only bushes to claim themselves as he retorted that he, who was just an outsider, was unable to see the emptiness in the eyes of his accomplice Joseph towards the beauty of the place. Population of Rwanda constitutes two groups, the Hutu majority constituting 85 per cent of the population and the Tutsi minority had around 15 per cent of the population. Till the end of the 19th century, Rwanda was under the subjugation of the European colonization, Tutsis belonged to the aristocratic class while Hutus were peasants.

Europeans imbibed race consciousness in them making them more polarized where Tutsis were most favored while Hutus were oppressed. But soon Hutu took control over the power. During all these years, political gambit and the bid of power led many civil wars but ultimately in 1993 in the month of August, peace deal was signed. But extremists group pressurized President Habyarimana against implementing peace process and as a result he was assassinated though the Tutsis were blamed for his killing and it became the ground of one of this biggest genocides not just against Tutsis but entire humanity.

All these periods, country held autocratic rule with the military men of the Hutu power holding their ultimate aim of extricating every Tutsi in Rwanda. Initially Hutus and Tutsis were intermingled race and they never recognized themselves as separate ethnic groups, but only as intermingled political identity but when racism eulogy creped and after the death of President Habyarimana, Hutus military power gained control.

If the political structure is analyzed since 1992, The Arusha Accords had made the grounds of laying down Broad-Based Transitional Government (BBTG) with insurgents Rwandese Patriotic Front (primarily Tutsi) constituting five political parties that had formed government on the temporary basis since April 1992 on the basis of the elections. These accords also made negotiations rendering necessary for the permanent peace and to settle the problems coming up in the formation of the law, repatriation of refuges, merging of governments and over and above coming to some concrete solutions regarding disagreements.

This was the political scenario when President Habyarimana’s plane was shot dead and ensued the genocide. Economy of Rwanda is primarily agriculture with tea, coffee and banana plantations, variety of rain forests, moors, and savanna grasslands with traditionally people advocating the system of authoritative rule. Majority of the population are poor and uneducated obey the command of the authority. It has been argued that if poor were given the arms, and money and ordered to kill, they would obey, and would follow the higher genre on the ways of the society.

Gourevitch retorted, “They may think that they didn’t kill because they didn’t take life with their own hands, but the people were looking to them for their orders. And, in Rwanda, an order can be given very quietly (23). ” One of the official’s was so eager to establish difference between the two that he had to argue that the Tutsis only arrived at Rwanda somewhere from outer space. In fact economic condition of the Rwanda too was deteriorated in 1986 when Hutu leaders had to face the reduction of the world prices of tea and coffee.

Both the Hutus and Tutsis belong to Christianity but Tutsis are tall and skinny and Hutus are generally short and fat. This is the difference that marked their different identity and their political position and their number show created a great division between them. Why Gourevitch took upon this arduous task of making Rwandan Genocide his mission to espouse and making it another treatise only because of one aspect: the letter president of the Adventist Church received from the seven Tutsi pastors who had taken refugee in the church.

They had sent letter of appeal to the president of the church who was Hutu to rescue them. In the letter they pleaded: “We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families” and continued, “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.

” (Gourevitch, Online) But several of them were charred to death the following day after the letter was written and the person responsible was the president of the church himself. Gourevitch was able to meet some of the survivors of the ghastly killings in church. This was the extent of the extremity seen and witnessed by the writer through the voice of the witnesses themselves like Tutsi doctor who saw with his own eyes his entire family getting charred, hotel manager who gave shelter to hundreds of refugees and a bishop of Rwanda who himself was accused of slaughtering many school children.

Works Cited

Gourevitch, Philip. “An Interview: We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families: Stories from Rwanda. ” Internet (1998) Available: http://www. booknotes. org/Transcript/? ProgramID=1490, April 22, 1998. Gourevitch, Philip. “We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families: Stories from Rwanda: Stories from Rwanda” New York: Picador, 1998.

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