Deogratias: A Tale of Rwanda

Published By: First Second

Book Category: Non-Fiction, Comics & Graphic Novels

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Reviewed by Connie Anderson

First published in Belgium in 2000, this translation of Deogratius: A Tale of Rwanda by Alexis Siegel may appear to be like a comic--but it does not have any humorous content.

The setting is 1994 in Rwanda, in Eastern Africa. A bit of history is required. Everyone carried ID cards to designate whether they were Hutu, the majority ethnic group, or Tutsi. Extremists from the Hutu group planned to exterminate the Tutsi minority and kill moderate Hutu who opposed their goal. The ID cards made it easy for the murderers to know who to kill.

The story, told through flashbacks of the days before and after the horrific genocide, is told from the viewpoint of Deogratius, a Hutu boy and Benina, a Tutsi girl.

In the genocide, 800,000 humans are murdered while the world did nothing. The United Nations estimated that 3 million people were murdered as the war spilled over in the neighboring countries to find the refugees from Rwanda.

The graphic author's storytelling is powerful and eloquent. The history lesson is told from the eye of a young boy and an older man--both native and white immigrants, soldiers and others.

Armchair Interviews says: Not an easy read, Deogratias: A Tale of Rwanda is an important history lesson told in this manner by the author who now resides in Rwanda with his family.

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