Politike

How one author unlocked the secrets of one of Africa's most oppressive dictatorships

Category: Politics
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Rwanda's President Paul Kagame, left, greets France's President Nicolas Sarkozy on his arrival at the presidential palace in Kigali, February 25, 2010.

The 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which a tottering government spurred members of the Hutu ethnic group to slaughter as many as 800,000 of their Tutsi neighbors, has been the subject of numerous books, dramatic films, and documentaries aimed at a general audience.

 

The atrocity's messy aftermath hasn't inspired quite the same interest.

Rwanda's post-genocide government helped touch off multiple region-wide conflicts in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, as Paul Kagame, the commander of the eventually victorious Tutsi forces in 1994, molded Rwanda into one of the most thoroughgoing dictatorships in Africa.

Rwanda's post-genocide trajectory, and Kagame's construction of a seemingly stable, prosperous and internationally lauded authoritarian state, is one of the most fascinating and morally vexing foreign-policy stories of the past two decades. But it's largely remained inaccessible to nonspecialists — which is why "Bad News: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship," author Anjan Sundaram's recently published book recounting his time in Rwanda, is so important.

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