Those We Throw Away Are Diamonds: A Refugee’s Search for Home

Mondiant Dogon with Jenna Krajeski. Penguin Press, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-1-984881-28-1
A human rights activist remembers a childhood besieged by violence in Congo and Rwanda in this searing debut memoir. Dogon was born in North Kivu, a region of Congo on the border with Rwanda that was populated by ethnic Hutus and Tutsis; after the 1994 Rwandan genocide, when he was three years old, Hutu attacks drove his Tutsi family from their village. Fleeing to Rwanda, they survived massacres inflicted by Hutu militias on Tutsi refugee camps. Dogon later returned to Congo with his father, but at the age of 11 he was imprisoned and witnessed the rapes and murders of inmates by Congolese soldiers. He eventually escaped to join pro-Tutsi rebels before returning to Rwanda, where he got an education, but still experienced poverty, hunger, and the despair of being a stateless outcast in a society that reviled refugees. There is shocking suffering here, and Dogon conveys its psychological impact with limpid, subdued prose. (“I turned my little sister’s head from side to side,” he recalls of his sister’s death from starvation. “It moved without resistance... like a toy.... I felt as though I was no longer human.”) The result is an immensely moving memorial to the Rwandan tragedy. Agent: Binky Urban, ICM. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/13/2021
Release date: 10/12/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-9848-8129-8
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