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Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak Kindle Edition
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B0056IBGGS
- Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First edition (April 18, 2006)
- Publication date : April 18, 2006
- Language : English
- File size : 460 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 271 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #394,296 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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And they enjoyed it.
How is this possible?
The profit motivation is one guess. The men worked hard for spoil - the more they killed the larger the share of their victims assets. They were making far more than they would tilling their fields. But this doesn't explain the ruthlessness of the killings. The killers enjoyed their work. They mocked their victims, often calling to them by name (again, because they knew them). Their motivation was deeper than murder for spoil.
They did not view the Tutsis as people despite years of co-existence. If genuine human interaction cannot prevent genocide what can?
More frightening than any fiction. Makes one wonder about the future of humanity if humans can so easily kill, up close, bloodly and with no remorse.
Well written, compelling to read.
It will haunt me forever.
Shipping on this was fast and everything showed up in one piece. Being a paperback, it didn’t show any signs of abuse or shipping damage.
The story of this book, although specific to Rwanda, is a repeat of historical happenings in other areas, which have experienced “cleanings” for one reason or another. The author set out to try to document the happenings of the Rwandan genocide by interviewing a group of the killers, and survivors that would speak to him. The outcome is a very graphic account of what happened during that time. I think the author did an amazing job of compiling their accounts into a well organized book, that flows flawlessly. This book is a great reminder of the dangers of group thinking and cultural conditioning to hate another group.
Overall I have, and will continue to, recommend this book to people. I could not be happier to have added this to my collection.
If you are expecting to come away with some definitive answers about the genocide... think again, as it is not the purpose of this book. The beauty of this book is that is illuminating, but somewhat open. Hatzfeld does not spoon feed the reader and he keeps the book's focus on the voices of the men he interviewed. There is a rawness about the process of human self-reflection and this book captures it, laying bare the truths and lies people tell themselves while recounting their role in the past. The human psyche is fascinating, and what people choose to share is as interesting as what we see them refuse to share. For example, some passages reveal a shocking frankness -sometimes as much a shock to the speaker as the reader. Yet, some passages reveal a distance, a cold detachedness... a refusal or incapability of the soul to either publicly or privately connect and unburden. All this said, Hatzfeld acknowledges that beyond inner turmoil, legal and other reprecussions influence what is shared and what is not.
This is a MUST READ for those who study genocide and mass violence. It is recommended for all interested others who have the maturity, respect, and the stomach to handle it.
For those not familiar with the Rwandan genocide: If you are looking for an excellent book that will help you understand a little something about what happened and why see "We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda" by Philip Gourevitch. Read Gourevitch first and Hatzfeld's book afterward. You can't understand and fully appreciate this book properly -and its significant contribution -unless you have some background knowledge of the genocide.
If you want to continue to get insights into this horrible time, Jean Hatzfield's two books should be read. His reflections mirrored my own questions, and even the guarded stories of the killers show their hearts. One killer says, "Someone had failed to finish the job, so I followed the target and finished it." as a reference to killing a neighbor. The killers' complete belief that they only had to ask for forgiveness and it would be granted and they could live together as one happy neighborhood is a sign of their lack of understanding of the horror that was done.
I was especially horrified that Hatfield could find few people who aided a former friend or neighbor, and that the killers had so little remorse that no one committed suicide. They expected no consequences, and in the end, they got a fairly short jail term. They were right, no one really cared.
I was searching for signs that could bring early intervention, but there really didn't seem to be something that was big or significant. Only greed, obedience when it suits, mob thinking and abdication by good people.
Although not as graphic as some books I have read on Rwanda, there are sentences that will haunt you forever, and images you wish were not in your mind. But they happened and we owe it to the survivors to listen.
Top reviews from other countries
What a book. Its a book which is unlike any other, written from the point of view of a journalist with very few of his own deductions. I loved the whole outlay of the book as it just presented the facts from the killers point of views. There was little covering or philosophy behind the pure butchery of the whole exercise which sort of makes sense when you consider butchers dealing with meat, taking life every day and living without any remorse in their daily lives. The interviewed Hutu killers were like the butchers for three months of absolute carnage, egged on by the society and the leadership, they killed with systematic efficiency, over and over again. There seems to be no rational explanation of this absolute carnage. All you get is quiet contemplation and a warning to quell any hate filled rhetoric as quickly as possible, because any idea once popular is impossible to kill.
That being said, there are a few things about this book that just bug me and you should be aware of:
1. I just couldn't help feeling, from beginning to end, that Hatzfeld has written this book to make a quick buck. Not a lot of effort is required to tell of macabre events and monstrous human beings and heads smashed in and limbs cut off and pregnant women disemboweled. This books reads like nothing more than sensationalist journalism. It was written for its shock value. And if course, that sells.
2. For some reason, and obviously not in keeping with the title, Hatzfeld uses quite a bit of space comparing the Rwandan genocide with that perpetrated against the Jews in Nazi Germany (this is the only part of the book that could be remotely considered intellectual, but it's not). Throughout, he gives examples of how the two genocides were similar, but in each case he then goes on to argue that they were not. Questions: if the two genocides were not alike, then why bother to compare them? Why explore the Holocaust in a book about heinous killers in Rwanda? Yes, the massacres took place within, and were part of, a genocide, but this book is about ten gruesome, machete-wielding men and their thoughts before, during, and after . Filler material - that's all I can think of: the book would have been pretty short without it.
3. Useless material above helps expand this volume, yet only one single paragraph (a note) mentions the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda. In it Hatzfeld writes "UNAMIR's intervention (in the crisis) consisted of protecting and evacuating expatriates and its own personnel." He obviously either didn't do his homework on UNAMIR and its mandate and limitations, or has chosen to ignore the facts. UNAMIR tried to provide protection, to the best of its ability, to everyone it could, including Prime Minister Agathe Umwilingiyimana (the ten Belgian soldiers guarding her were slaughtered, as was she). It simply could not answer all the calls for help, but it did shelter some 12,000 Tustsi and Hutu souls from certain death in Amahoro Stadium: they all eventually escaped. True, UN troops helped whites and others to evacuate: those who asked, and those whose governments (American, British, Belgian, etc.) asked. Few Rwandan citizens were helped to leave: that would have started an exodus which UNAMIR could not have handled. And, yes, UN troops also helped their own personnel to leave: as in when the going got so hot that the Belgians withdrew their 450 troops, the Ghanians brought roughly half of their 800 man contingent home, and Bangladesh hastened its 1,100 soldiers away from the carnage. With a remaining mission of about 450 soldiers and no mandate to intervene, UNAMIR became virtually hamstrung.
So, dear reader, read the book if you will. But be warned there's a lot of needless fill in here, and not much effort went into its writing. You will learn about human nature and human monsters, including the kind that write about other peoples' suffering to make a dollar.