Genocide has no silver lining. That idea itself is an outrage to our sensi-
bilities. When writing about even moderate opportunities in the wake of
mass violence, the scope of tragedy must not be obscured.
In Rwanda, that scope was notorious: nearly one million people killed
between April and July 1994. With a un peacekeeping mission already
on the ground as the tempest brewed, the depth of calamity might have
been mitigated. But by either willful disregard or pledges of ignorance,
this small country became an infamy borne by the international commu-
nity as well as the perpetrators.
Now, more than two decades later, the end of this account can turn
to the informed community writ large, those men and women who may
directly or indirectly influence how countries progress toward fair rep-
resentation of all citizens.
Some of you are preachers, professors, or pundits looking for the in-
gredients of meaningful democracy, not simply a recipe replete with lofty
words. Others are women, like me, who have too often let obstacles de-
fine our way. These stories and analyses light the path that we call our
Many of us are parents, focused on a new generation. I hope that as
you’ve taken in these stories, you’ve felt a push to pull your daughters
into leadership. Perhaps you’ll see in those daughters and their daughters
flourishing hope for a more stable, less violent world.
And so we emerge, different from when we began some 350 pages
ago. And hopefully that difference is akin to lessons (a banal word that
seems obscenely light) that we can recite to ourselves over and over, as
we develop new habits of mind and habits of heart.
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