A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda's Genocide (Hardcover)
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In Rwanda in 1994 one million people were killed in a planned, public and political campaign. For six years Linda Melvern has worked on the story of this horrendous crime, and this book, a classic piece of investigative journalism, is the result. Its new and startling information has the making of an international scandal.
The book contains a full narrative account of how the genocide unfolded and describes its scale, speed and intensity. And the book provides a terrible indictment, not just of the UN Security Council, but even more so of governments and individuals who could have prevented what was happening but chose not to do so.
Drawing on a series of in-depth interviews, the author also tells the story of the unrecognized heroism of those who stayed on during the genocide - volunteer UN peacekeepers, their Force Commander the Canadian Lt.-General Romeo A. Dallaire, and Philippe Gaillard, the head of a delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross, helped by medical teams from Medecins Sans Frontieres.
The international community, which fifty years ago resolved that genocide never happened again, not only failed to prevent it happening in Rwanda, but, as this book shows, international funds intended to help the Rwandan economy actually helped to create the conditions that made the genocide possible. Documents held in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, as well as hitherto unpublished evidence of secret UN Security Council deliberations in New York, reveal a shocking sequence of events.
What happened in Rwanda shows that despite the creation of an organisation set up to prevent a repetition of genocide - for the UN is central to this task - it failed to do so, even when the evidence was indisputable. At a time when increasing attention is being given to the need for UN reform, this book provides evidence to urgently accelerate and focus that process. Only by understanding how and why the genocide happened can there be any hope that this new century will break with the dismal record of the last.
“This is a very important book. It is a book that a large number of people should read....what is good about the book is that it shows the big picture. It shows the failure that actually took place. It tells the story of what really happened. An outstandingly good book... Compelling... its content is exceptional.” —Colin Keating, New Zealand Ministry of Justice, and former New Zealand Ambassador to the UN
“A riveting and well-researched account of the horrendous crimes committed in Rwanda while an indifferent world, to its shame, looked the other way. There are grim lessons here for everyone, from international statesmen and politicians to responsible citizens and decent human beings everywhere” —Dame Margaret Anstee
“This is a devastating account of lies, deceit, complacency and tragic neglect.... All we can hope is that this fine book will provide lessons for the future, because it provides all of us who lobby and campaign for early warning systems and conflict prevention with invaluable evidence. Looking around the world, you wonder what has been learnt since 1994. Linda Melvern deserves our thanks for investing so much in breaking the silence and revealing the truth.” —Glenys Kinnock, Forum on Early Warning And Early Response
“The best overall account of the background to the genocide, and the failure to prevent it, is Linda Melvern's A People Betrayed…. She discovered so much that we did not know, and her book remains one of the best sources available.” —Lt. Gen Romeo Dallaire, United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda and author of Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda
“Quite extraordinary: precise, and yet overwhelming; a fine balance in the face of depravity... Linda Melvern has written an extraordinary account of the Rwanda genocide, and the shocking failure of the West to lift a finger... What Melvern demonstrates so powerfully is that where Western geopolitical interests are absent, Western morality and 'civilised' concerns are nowhere to be found ... A brave and compelling book.” —Professor Richard Falk, Princeton University
“What happened in Rwanda is one of the most appalling, heartbreaking tragedies that the world has known. Why did it occur? And what more could have been done to prevent it? This serious, very thorough attempt to answer those questions will be essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand what happened. This is a powerful and important book.” —The Right Reverend Richard Harries, Bishop of Oxford