Rwanda's Miraculous Rebirth Exposed As a Mirage, Shrouding a Militaristic Surveillance State

analysis

A new book by the British author Michela Wrong, 'Do not disturb: the story of a political murder and an African regime gone bad', has kicked a hornet's nest. While it has won laudatory reviews, it has also exposed the profound and at times hateful discord over the Rwandan genocide and aftermath. Wrong is brave to venture into such a contentious field.

On 6 April 1994, exactly 27 years ago, a Falcon jet carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and his Burundian counterpart, Cyprien Ntaryamira, was shot down by a surface-to-air missile as it was landing at Kigali International Airport. This was the trigger for one of the most violent and brutal episodes in African history, the Rwandan genocide, in which up to a million people -- the overwhelming majority of them Tutsis -- were slaughtered in just three months.

This story has been told in news reports (after the international press was initially caught flat-footed); in the accounts of survivors and witnesses; in almost 15 years of testimony at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania; and in dozens of books and movies including Hotel Rwanda, for which Don Cheadle won an Oscar. And yet, surprisingly, much contention...

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