Generous Orthodoxy  

Monday, February 16, 2009

The death and life of Alison des Forges

Like everybody else, I was distressed to learn of the death of 9/11 widow Beverly Eckert, a heroic fighter for truth and transparency in the face of an obstinate and dissembling Bush administration. All the news on the first day after the plane crash near Buffalo was about her.

But on the second day, when I heard the name Alison des Forges over the radio as one of those dead, I experienced a shock of particular and personal grief. Anyone who has been interested in the subject of genocide, and Rwanda in particular, will recognize her name. Her book about the killings in Rwanda is the definitive account of the subject. She spent virtually her entire life studying Rwanda, and issued early warnings about the genocide. Only ten days ago she was quoted in news reports about the Goucher College professor accused of being one of the Rwandan genocidaires.

I have sent gifts in memory of Alison des Forges to Human Rights Watch and to Paul Rusesabagina's Hotel Rwanda Foundation. I reached the Hotel Rwanda Foundation at