Steward, John. From Genocide to Generosity: Hatreds Heal on Rwanda’s Hills. Carlisle, Cumbria, United Kingdom: Langham Global Library, 2015.
In From Genocide to Generosity, John Steward weaves together the accounts of perpetrators and survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocides. This book brings to light the arduous path of recovery and the healing of both individuals and a nation. In so doing, it provides hope and inspiration to the world that restorative, in contrast to punitive, justice is a journey worth undertaking. Steward makes a very strong case for restorative justice as the only way to re-humanize relationships mired in hurt and shame. He says “Any person who presses on with life without healing the past and leaving behind the poison is not able to live into the full hope and experience of a good future” (165).
The book tackles many tough questions as well. It implicates both the Rwandans as well as the rest of the world for their actions and inactions alike that led to the brutalities. The harsh questions are appropriate. The provided answers also give guidance on how to take responsibility and move forward. From Genocide to Generosity is a much needed guide on how to acknowledge emotions so that the healing process can begin.
Due to both its harsh, but not overtly graphic, content, and its narrative tone, the book does require discipline to complete. From Justice to Genocide should be required reading for teenagers, as well as more mature audiences, as the hope of the future does rest in the energy and idealism of the youth. Youth need to see an example of how and why breaking with cultural norms can be necessary for a more hopeful future, one freed of prejudices and ill-placed honor codes.
© Copyright May 2017 by Yvonne R. Roberts
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, accessed at gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2003-title16-vol1/content-detail.html