Rule Number One 

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

After a year, I picked up Roméo Dallaire's book again. It's a huge book and I can't hide it in my bag. So I carry it around and many people tell me they are reading it too. This makes for a great social experience. I love talking about what I am reading and, with a good book, veritably itch to yell to the world, "Hey, read this, you ninnies, so we can discuss page 156!"

The other results of the book is that, first, I've cemented my resolve to visit Rwanda and the genocide sites and, second, I am finding other books about Rwanda to read while I plod through Shake Hands with the Devil.

I picked up Machete Season, a collection of oral histories by the Parisian journalist Jean Hatzfeld with some of the killers.

Jean-Baptiste Murangira, a civil servant, explained the rules of genocide: "The only regulation was to keep going until the end, maintain a satisfactory pace, spare no one, and loot what we found. It was impossible to screw up."

Pancrace Hakizamungili, who left prison on May 5, 2003 (not finishing his 12-year sentence), understood it more simply, "Rule number one was to kill. There was no rule number two."

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