The survivors speak (Rwanda 3)

(To continue the series on Jean Hatzfeld’s books on the Rwandan genocide.)

Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak┬áhas a sadder, more intimate feel about it than Machete Season (see previous post). One reason may be that author Jean Hatzfeld presents each person’s story, of the 14 people he interviewed in the Nyamata district of Rwanda, as a separate whole rather than grouping their various responses topically. He introduces them, places them with lovely description in the setting he found them at the time. A full-page photograph is included with each. (Twelve-year-old school boy Cassius also appears on the cover.)

This is not to say that the book doesn’t occupy the harrowing world of the genocide as do the killers’ accounts.┬áThe four men and 10 women speak — with sorrow, bitterness, or confusion — of seeing family members or children hacked to death, of lying in the mud of the Bugesera papyrus swamps while trying to escape notice, of hearing the killers coming for the day’s “hunt”– “announcing themselves with whistles and songs.” Continue reading