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Ghosts of Rwanda
Laura Lane, consular officer at the U.S. embassy in Kigali, Rawanda from Ghosts of Rwanda.

[Was] your gut feeling [that the killing] was a plan? Did that make you even more resolved to stay personally and to protect?

Oh, absolutely, because I felt very, very strongly that if there is someone who is planning this kind of evil, they need to know that there is also another group; that we, the Americans, will stand right here and stand against them. I felt very, very strongly about that, because otherwise they think they could get away with it, and that no one would notice that. This would just happen, and everyone would turn their back and let it happen. I didn't want to be a part of that. I wanted to be there to say, "This is wrong, and we're not going to let it continue."

Maybe [that's] hopelessly naïve. We were four people in an embassy and a very small embassy community, but I don't know. I think one person can make a difference, and maybe if we just saved one life, that was one life worth saving. Maybe we couldn't save everyone, but I would have rather stood there and stayed, and said, "I am going to stay, because it is worth that risk." In the end, the decision was taken out of my hands. I followed the orders and we evacuated overland.

When I went back to the State Department, I tried to do what I could to help in providing information, because how many Rwanda experts are there in the U.S. government? There's not that many, and I tried to maintain contact with any of the FSNs whose phone numbers I could still have. …

On that final convoy, were there [Rwandans] on that convoy?

There were. We had we had a convoy of over 100 vehicles with over 600 people, only nine Americans. Greg and I were the last two. The ambassador was at the front, and Chuck was in the vehicle just in front of ours. The rest were just Kenyans, Tanzanians, Germans, Belgians, French -- Anyone, because I was in communication with the other embassies, and some of the other embassies didn't have a plan to get their people out. …

We had a long line of cars, and yes, there were Rwandans in there. There were [Tutsis] in there, and in some cases there were Hutus. It's not like we chose sides. We chose people who wanted to live and who were not part of the violence; and not that we chose them, but they kind of came forward on their own, because not every Hutu was part of the violence. Not every [Tutsi] was part of the violence. Some of them were just ordinary people who wanted to raise their families, live their normal lives. So if they [made] it to our checkpoints, and we could hide them, we did. Some of them were -- We dubbed them "Americans for the day." You know what I mean? We made them honorary Americans so that they could be in the convoy. …
mercifulserpent: (Default)
'How to write about Africa'
Binyavanga Wainaina
some tips: sunsets and starvation are good
Always use the word 'Africa' or 'Darkness' or 'Safari' in your title. Subtitles may include the words 'Zanzibar', 'Masai', 'Zulu', 'Zambezi', 'Congo', 'Nile', 'Big', 'Sky', 'Shadow', 'Drum', 'Sun' or 'Bygone'. Also useful are words such as 'Guerrillas', 'Timeless', 'Primordial' and 'Tribal'. Note that 'People' means Africans who are not black, while 'The People' means black Africans.
Read more... )
http://www.granta.com/extracts/2615

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