W Publishing Group
“In 1994, at least one million, one hundred and seventeen thousand innocent people were massacred in a horrible genocide in Rwanda, my homeland in central Africa. We are still finding bodies—buried in pits, dumped in rivers, chopped in pieces.” These are words from the introduction of John Rucyahana and James Riordan’s book, The Bishop of Rwanda.
In his book, Rucyahana recounts a history of genocide in Rwanda, from its causes to its completion. On its own, it is a thorough examination of the events of the Rwandan genocide, but the author truly makes it a compelling account: he was there. John Rucyahana became the bishop of the Shyira diocese of Rwanda in 1997, serving his term during the violence. He escaped death many times. Friends and members of his family were not so fortunate. Today, he has committed himself to reconciliation within the country of Rwanda and has founded an orphanage dedicated to providing for children orphaned during the genocide there. All things considered, John Rucyahana is more than qualified to write this book.
The Bishop of Rwanda begins with the story of a Rwandan family stricken by violence. This is quite possibly one of the most shocking parts of the book. Rucyahana continues to explain the causes of this violence, as he begs the question: what would turn two peaceful, harmonious peoples against one another? The answer is surprising and outraging. From there, he gives a history of the violence from its rise to its fall. He ends with an explanation of the need for reconciliation and the current efforts toward that end.
Throughout this book, however, the purpose remains the same: to explain how, even through all of this violence, in the end God was glorified. Now that the genocide is over, Rwandans are turning to God as never before.
Due to its subject, The Bishop of Rwanda is a very violent book. All throughout the book there are graphic descriptions of murder and other violent behaviors. Thus, this book should probably not be read by someone under the age of 16. However, the overall message of the book is good, especially considering the current similar situation in Darfur, and I highly recommend it for those 16 and older.
It’s always been easy to be complacent. It’s even easier today, when much of the world embraces the concepts of freedom and equality. The Bishop of Rwanda gives the Western world a much needed reminder that things like this do happen and need to be stopped. More than that, it gives everyone a reminder that God can turn even a tragedy like genocide into a victory. – Peter Semple, Christian Book Previews.com
In 1994, as his country descended into the madness of genocide, Anglican Bishop John Rucyahana underwent the mind-numbing pain of having members of his church and family butchered. John refused to become a part of the systemic hatred. He founded the Sonrise orphanage and school for children orphaned in the genocide, and he now leads reconciliation efforts between his own Tutsi people, the victims of this horrific massacre, and the perpetrators, the Hutus. His remarkable story is one that demands to be told.