A sobering study of the troubled African nation, both pre- and post-genocide, and its uncertain future
The brutal civil war between Hutu and Tutsi factions in Rwanda ended in 1994 when the Rwandan Patriotic Front came to power and embarked on an ambitious social, political, and economic project to remake the devastated central-east African nation. Susan Thomson, who witnessed the hostilities firsthand, has written a provocative modern history of the country, its rulers, and its people, covering the years prior to, during, and following the genocidal conflict. Thomson's hard-hitting analysis explores the key political events that led to the ascendance of the Rwandan Patriotic Front and its leader, President Paul Kagame. This important and controversial study examines the country's transition from war to reconciliation from the perspective of ordinary Rwandan citizens, Tutsi and Hutu alike, and raises serious questions about the stability of the current peace, the methods and motivations of the ruling regime and its troubling ties to the past, and the likelihood of a genocide-free future.
Susan Thomson is associate professor of peace and conflict studies at Colgate University. In 1994, she was program officer for the United Nations Development Programme and present in Rwanda during the crisis. She lives in Hamilton, NY.