Talking to Girls About Duran Duran by Rob Sheffield
Anyone who has ever found themselves using pop music as a touchstone for certain points in their lives should undoubtedly enjoy Rob Sheffield’s Talking to Girls About Duran Duran. A collection of essays named after some of the most quintessential songs of the 1980s such as “Our Lips Are Sealed” by The Go-Go’s, Madonna’s “Crazy For You,” and even Tone Loc’s “Funky Cold Medina,” readers need not have come of age during the decade to relate to the humorous anecdotes of what it was like growing up a middle class music fan during Reagan-era America.
Everything I Never Told You: A Novel by Celeste Ng
This is the fictional story of a Chinese American family living in a small town during the 1970′s. The main story revolves around the sudden and tragic death of the family’s favorite daughter, but in between the lines the author explores the many ways in which people deal with grief, while still fighting an overwhelming need to fit in. This book is a mystery of sorts, as no one can quite agree as to how the daughter died, but more so than that it’s an exploration into family dynamics and how each person got to where they are now. The author switches view points and provides ample back story of her characters in order to provide the reader with a rich and full picture of a family struggling to fit in, before and after their tragic loss.
We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch
This was the saddest and most difficult book to read. It explores the turmoil and swirling forces around the summer of 1994 in Rwanda. This was a time when the Republic of Rwanda’s government adopted a new policy in which everyone in the country’s Hutu majority group was called upon to murder everyone in the Tutsi’s minority.
Philip tells us about the years before and after the genocide and reminds us that Rwandan history is dangerous. With a record of successive struggles for power which consists in the ability to make others inhabit your story of their reality-“even, as is so often the case, when that story is written in their blood.” –p. 48.
His title is based upon an excerpt from a letter written by pastors in one Tutsi community to their church president, a Hutu. He says that he writes about how people imagine themselves and one another. The book was published in 1998 and had 7 printings by 1999. I am so amazed that he was able to observe and obtain his facts and figures without being endangered. He conducted conversations and interviews among key leaders and those attempting to heal from various sections of the country.
I found myself wanting to highlight so many pages to share the things I’ve learned. For instance, there was no US-Bill Clinton-Madeleine Albright-United Nations-NATO intervention in the genocide of these African people. And-Clinton’s ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright opposed leaving even the skeleton crew of two hundred seventy (UN Troops) in Rwanda.
On pages 5 and 6 he mentions an article about Dian Fossey’s death in Rwanda with murky proceedings even though the case is closed. And he mentions the prophesy of a Catholic Visionary named Little Peoples, who was in communication with the Blessed Virgin Mary-who relayed messages announcing WOE FOR RWANDA.
Rwanda was the most Christianized country in Africa with 65% Catholics and 15% Protestants. A year after the genocide, The Rwandese Patriotic Army had been deployed to close a camp for “internally displaced persons” at Kibeho, the hill famous for apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Kibeho is merely one of dozens of camps for those displaced. More than 80,000 Hutus who had fled their homes after the genocide were living at the Kibeho camp, which the French had set up during Operation Turquoise. The RPA operation to close the camp had gone awry, and at least two thousand Hutus were reported killed. Once again, a UN battalion had been on hand and had done nothing. (This is a direct quote from Philip).
“The Story of Rwanda had been bothering my mind, and I wanted to explore how the killings at the Kibeho camp related and compared to the genocide that preceded them.”-writes Philip.
On p. 188 it seems that relief agencies agreed in principle but not about how the displaced people should depart the camps! And by early 1995, a quarter of a million IDP’s (internally displaced persons) remained in the camps, of which Kibeho was the largest and home to the largest collection of hard-core Genocidaires.
This book sparks a lot to bother my mind as well. I would love to learn the role of the UN. I only know that when I was much younger in 1990- I was impressed walking through the UN building in NYC for what may have been a brief hour or two. If I were to visit again, I am certain that I would make a day of it!
The author first began his journey to Rwanda in May of 1995. His total stay was 9 months in the course of 6 trips. Pages 186-208 particularly stirred me and I feel compelled to continue studying what happened not too long ago.
Abraham Lincoln said that “We cannot escape history. We…will be remembered in spite of ourselves.”