When The Hills Ask For Your Blood
When you think about genocide, you imagine so many news stories and it is an old train that takes you from Eastern Europe to Bangladesh and back. But that is not what many think of when you think about its state of presence in Africa: the genocide in Rwanda is often spoken about and it is the subject of many, many books but this one is different because it takes you inside the lives of a city torn apart by the ravages of war.
There is a kind of ethnic cleansing that forms the fabrics of the nation’s history and it involves slaughtering of, mostly, an ethnic tribe by what makes up the majority there. Within the span of some small number of days, many thousands died that way in Rwanda and this book by a BBC journalist takes you inside the territories that lay hounded by fear on three separate occasions. You meet a priest who endangers his own life by staying back during the genocide of 1994 and saving many others’ lives. This heroic effort is then enshrined in the lives of the people who are still alive today and the book manages to introduce some of them to you.
The murders were driven by insanity presiding over the friends and neighbours of many of the victims. The road to safety was dictated with the help of a lorry: there was this compartment in it that sheltered many Africans. From Burundi, close to Rwanda the priest gets aid, such as food and medical support to help the people of the country. He was shot during daylight in a cold-blooded manner eventually, which is really the harsh reality of African states (sans South Africa and a couple of others).
The heroic priest in question could have escaped the bloody feud but on various occasions he chose to remain within the borders of Rwanda, instead. Belton’s work is informative reading on the subject of genocide in Rwanda because it pieces together puzzles of the country’s past, attempts to learn more about where the state is interested in going in the future and tells about the personal accounts of survivors, bringing you, the reader, that much closer to the story. Rwanda is lying stationary, at the moment with what seems like “eternal hope” that the past will become an episode worth moving on from!