Genocide

Literature Reviews

Gaël Faye: Petit pays (Small Country)

A short but impactful novel (barely longer than a novella), tracing the coming-of-age of the son of a French father and a Burundian Tutsi mother, which coming-of-age is rudely interrupted when the genocide in neighboring Rwanda spills over into Burundi.  Along the way, the novel examines how our cultural identity is first drummed into us, […]

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2019: The Books I’ve Been Most Thankful For

24 Festive Tasks: Door 11 – Thanksgiving: Task 2 With another full month to go in the year, it may be a bit early to do this task, but a substantial number of the books I’m going to be reading in December will be Christmas rereads, so here we go. The books / authors I […]

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Aminatta Forna: The Memory of Love

On Trauma and Healing (of Sorts) Sierra Leone gained independence from British colonial rule in 1961, but, like so many other African countries, after enjoying a few brief initial years of peace and democracy, it was torn apart by dictatorial rule, military regimes, civil war and corruption in the decades that followed.  As a result, […]

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Clea Koff: The Bone Woman

War Crimes Laid Bare from Beyond the Grave Some 15+ years ago, towards the end of the years when I was practicing law in the U.S., I was asked to represent a young woman from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC, the former Zaire) in an immigration case.  My client was a Tutsi, in her […]

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Clea Koff: The Bone Woman — Part 5: Kosovo

Reading progress update: 256 of 277 pages. The airport of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, is called Kosovo Polje — roughly translated, “blackbird field” (“kos” is blackbird in Serbo-Croat).  Kosovo Polje is also the name of the battle (and battlefield) which, in 1389, opened the door for the Ottoman conquest of large chunks of the […]

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Clea Koff: The Bone Woman — Part 4: Croatia

Reading progress update: 194 of 277 pages. Vukovar and Eastern Slavonia: a notorious bone of contention between Croats and Serbs, and a necessary reminder that: 1)  The Serbs weren’t the only ones to commit war crimes, drive out their neighbours or profit from ethnic cleansing.  All sides to the conflict had blood on their hands.  […]

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Clea Koff: The Bone Woman — Part 3: Bosnia

Reading progress update: 157 of 277 pages. Srebrenica: The monster of all Bosnian massacre sites, with 8,000 men of all ages taken away from their families and killed in various locations in the Srebrenica area, or picked up and killed on their way to (believed, relative) safety in nearby Tuzla.  The team to which Koff […]

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Clea Koff: The Bone Woman — Part 2: Kigali (Rwanda)

Reading progress update: 112 of 277 pages. Second section, Kigali. This part begins with a detail I’d have liked to see mentioned right at the beginning of the book itself: The so-called “Tutsi” and “Hutu” “ethnicity” is anything but that — in fact, it’s not an indigenous African thing at all, but an artificial classification […]

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Clea Koff: The Bone Woman — Part 1: Kibuye (Rwanda)

Reading progress update: 79 of 277 pages. A buddy read with Elentarri and Ani.  As Elentarri says in her first reading status update, Clea Koff was a member of a team of forensic anthropologists who worked on several of major war crimes sites in Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo, collecting evidence to be used in […]

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Half of a Yellow Sun

Biafra: The World Was Silent When We Died Half of a Yellow Sun is named for the centerpiece of the Biafran flag: * Red for the blood of those massacred in northern Nigeria after the country’s 1960 independence; in the time period leading up to the Nigeria-Biafra war, and in that war itself; * Black […]

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Literature Reviews

Chris Bohjalian: The Sandcastle Girls

Not an entirely bad book, but boy, this could have been so much more. Ostensibly, it deals with the Armenian genocide perpetrated by Turkey in the middle of WWI.  What we really get is — at least chiefly — the love story of an American volunteer nurse trainee who has accompanied her father on a […]

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