Genocide, after all is an exercise in community building. A vigorous totalitarian order requires that the people be invested in the leaders’ scheme, and while genocide may be the most perverse and ambitious means to this end, it is also the most comprehensive. In 1994, Rwanda was regarded in much of the rest of the world as the exemplary instance of the chaos and anarchy associated with collapsed states. In fact, the genocide was the produce of order, authoritarianism, decades of modern political theorizing and indoctrination, and one of the most meticulously administered states in history. And strange as it may sound, the ideology – or what Rwandans call ‘the logic’ – of genocide was promoted as a way not to create suffering but to alleviate it. The specter of an absolute menace that requires absolute eradication binds leader and people in a hermetic utopian embrace, and the individual – always an annoyance to totality – ceases to exist.
– Philip Gourevitch
We wish to inform you that tomorrow
we will be killed with our families, p. 95.