March 14, 2006

Un Dimanche...
I've almost finished reading "Un Dimanche à  la piscine à Kigali", by Gil Courtemanche. As the name implies, a lot of the book takes place beside a hotel pool in Kigali, just before and during the Rwandan genocides. It's an incredible book as it not only talks about the genocides, but also about the staggering AIDS epidemic in Rwanda. The author is a Quebecois journalist who has covered the Ethiopian famine and the war in Lebanon. Most of the characters are people that he actually met while in Rwanda, although he clearly states that it's a novel. Even so, parts of it are still blood-curdling.
After reading "Shake Hands with the Devil", it gives a more human account of what happened, by following a few average Tutsis and Hutus who were caught up in the folly. Courtemanche takes an interesting stance on Romeo Dallaire too, and not one that's all too friendly. He seems to criticize him for not having done enough, and for having followed UN orders too literally, although he never gives a name and only says "the Canadian general".
It won the CBC Combat des livres in 2004, and was nominated for a Governor Generals award. From what I understand, there are plans for a French feature film based on the book.
Here's an English review, if you don't want to read the French one above.


tim said...

Didn't do enough? Is he on crack? 10,000 people in a stadium with 400 protectors whose armaments amounted to small arms and the odd 50 cal. Of those 10k I guess at least half would have been killed had those 400 soldiers not been there. How much does he expect to do with 400 lightly armed soldiers? Everyone else involved didn't do enough but at least RD did everything he could.
Just my 2 cents worth.

Stephen said...

I know, and I agree with you. How can you do anything, if you don't have anything to work with. His hands were tied.