A People Betrayed

The Role of the West in Rwanda's Genocide

By (author) Linda Melvern

Publication date:

17 July 2009


Zed Books



ISBN-13: 9781848132443

Events in Rwanda in 1994 mark a landmark in the history of modern genocide. Up to one million people were killed in a planned public and political campaign. In the face of indisputable evidence, the Security Council of the United Nations failed to respond. In this classic of investigative journalism, Linda Melvern tells the compelling story of what happened. She holds governments to account, showing how individuals could have prevented what was happening and didn't do so. The book also reveals the unrecognised heroism of those who stayed on during the genocide, volunteer peacekeepers and those who ran emergency medical care. Fifteen years on, this new edition examines the ongoing impact of the 1948 Genocide Convention and the shock waves Rwanda caused around the world. Based on fresh interviews with key players and newly-released documents, A People Betrayed is a shocking indictment of the way Rwanda is and was forgotten and how today it is remembered in the West.
Praise for the first edition: 'Melvern offers a vivid picture of the role of Western nations in abetting, ignoring and allowing Rwanda's genocide.' New York Times Book Review 'Linda Melvern has written a compelling description of the most dramatic aspects of the genocide.' Astri Suhrke, International Affairs 'Lifts the lid on the international community’s failure to prevent the genocide. Outlines how the slaughter was aided and abetted by international indifference, loans and weapons deals' Geoff Cumming, New Zealand News 'Quite extraordinary: precise, and yet overwhelming; a fine balance in the face of depravity... Linda Melvern has written an extraordinary account of the Rwanda genocide, and the shocking failure of the West to lift a finger... What Melvern demonstrates so powerfully is that where Western geopolitical interests are absent, Western morality and 'civilised' concerns are nowhere to be found ... A brave and compelling book.' Richard Falk, Princeton University 'The best overall account of the background to the genocide, and the failure to prevent it...the investigation is hers, and hers alone. She discovered so much that we did not know.' Lt-.General Romeo Dallaire, UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda 'This is a devastating account of lies, deceit, complacency and tragic neglect.... Linda Melvern deserves our thanks for investing so much in breaking the silence and revealing the truth.' Glenys Kinnock, MEP Praise for the second edition: 'A People Betrayed is an important book by an important investigative journalist. It is thanks to the patience and dedication with which Linda Melvern works and her well earned international reputation for excellence in journalism, that she gained access to new, crucial information. Linda Melvern gets us closer to the truth and the truth gets us closer to a better world. Only when we know how and why genocide happens, can we hope to stop it from happening again. What an achievement!' Linda Polman, author of We Did Nothing - Why the Truth Doesn't Always Come Out When the UN Goes In