In April-May 1994, 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis were massacred by their Hutu fellow citizens - about 10,000 a day - most of them hacked to death by machete. In the late 1990s, French author and journalist Jean Hatzfeld made several journeys into the hilly, marshy region of Bugesara, one of the areas most devastated by the genocide. He interviewed both killers and survivors and A Time for Machetes is the result of his interviews with nine of the Hutu killers. Most of the men were farmers, ordinary men. They told Hatzfeld how the work was given to them, what they thought about it how they did it, what their responses were to the first time they killed and what they felt when they killed a mother and child or an acquaintance. Hatzfeld's meditation on the banal, horrific testimony of the killers is lucid, humane, and wise. To read this disturbing, enlightening, brave book is to consider human morality and ethics in a new light.
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Born in Madagascar in1949, novelist and journalist Jean Hatzfeld worked for several years as foreign correspondent for French daily newspaper Lib ration, covering both the conflict in Yugoslavia, where he was wounded by machine-gun fire in 1992, and the Rwandan genocide. He lives in Paris. 45
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