You Alone May Live: One Woman's Journey through the Aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide

TitleYou Alone May Live: One Woman's Journey through the Aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsBlewitt, Mary K.
Number of Pages317

Up to a million Rwandan Tutsi were murdered by Hutu militias during the Rwandan genocide on 1994, fifty members of the author's family among them. Seeking sanctuary in her grandfather's village, they were herded by Hutu neighbours into a school classroom to await the Interahamwe militia, who later arrived in trucks, armed with machetes. To try to make sense of what had happened after the war, the author undertook voluntary work, believing that she had been allowed to survive in order to help others like her. She became a figure of trust with survivors seeking her out to tell their own stories of atrocity and survival. One woman told how she was raped in front of members of her own family who were then murdered. She was allowed to live and was told, "You alone may live, so that you will die of sadness." This was a common experience for women survivors. This is an important book about grief and survival in the face of unimaginable trauma. It traces the arc of the author's own extraordinary journey from a childhood in exile in Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda, to trying to come to terms with the loss of her family in the Rwandan genocide, to setting up the Survivors Fund (SURF), a charity providing aid to Rwandan survivors. Poignant, sad and sometimes overwhelming, this book records the author's story but also encompasses the painful testimonies of those who survived and shared their memories with her.

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