Honest Book Review

Sunday, 14 January 2018 0 comments
Today I will be giving my honest thoughts on my book and talk about its pros and cons, aka I will write a few paragraphs on why I don't particularly like this book.

Is this book a good candidate for a global issues novel study? Short answer, Maybe. But why? This book has everything required for a global issues novel. First of all, it was historically accurate. One of the writers of this book experienced the genocide firsthand, and this book did a good job of researching true facts of the genocide and throwing them into their novel. On pg. 225 and 226 it talks about how 800 000 people died, this is the number that is commonly referred to when talking about the genocide. They also include a slaughter of an entire church this book. This actually helped, there were different occurrences throughout Rwanda where they massacred entire churches. The radio in the book talks about cockroaches, which is referring to Tutsi people. Once again this was an actual thing. On the Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines, they broadcast about killing cockroaches and disguised everything they said. Things like cutting down all the trees could really mean kill all the Tutsi's. 

However, a book can be as historically accurate as possible and still be a bad book. Moments that show the horrors of the genocide are both few and far between as well as a bit un-impactful. It is mentioned once how many people died, there is one occurrence where we see a victim of the genocide on the road, and three or four radio broadcasts. For me, this was not enough to really showcase the horrors, I think the event would better resonate if I read a Wikipedia post. That is why I give this book a maybe. This book has a topic that is a global issue, is historically accurate, but does a subpar job of showcasing this event in a way that shows its true horrors and sadness, with little thought-provoking moments

Is this book a good read, however? absolutely not. This book has very little that I look for when I look for a good book. Number 1, this book does not provoke my emotions very much. Like I said earlier, I would be more emotionally affected if I read a Wikipedia post. This book has no well delivered moments that are supposed to make you feel some kind of way. Instead of telling a story about how you find your brothers body, they just tell you Pascal found his body and tell you he dies. These moments can be capitalized on, but they decided to not do it because that would make the book too long? That leads us to number 2, this book is both short and easy. And I don't understand why. they could have made this book ten times better if they extended the part where the genocide strikes to cater for the 150 pages of boring. Number 3, this books pacing all over the place. This book starts with 150 pages of either foreshadowing or pointless dialogue and events that have no correlation to the genocide. And then offer 80 pages that don't even offer a true ending/conclusion to be happy with. This issue could have been fixed is they juuuust made this book longer.

Would I recommend this book? no. This book is not what the librarian promised, not full of heartwrenching moments. Every suggestion I have that would make this book better is up above, the book needs to be both longer, which would deal with the pacing issues. Next time the author should think about extending the book to make it more interesting.

That is all.

FInal Blogpost

Wednesday, 10 January 2018 0 comments

This is the room that represents Pascal, where he's been, where he's at, what he loves and he regrets.

1, The first item is a coat hanger with a cross at the top. This cross is a religious symbol that recalls the crucifixion of Jesus. This cross symbolizes Jesus himself and the collection of christians who devote them selfs to his faith Pascal has a devotion to Christianity like his entire family and it not only represents his worshipping of the religion but also the bright times every Sunday when his entire family went to church.

2, The second item is a pair of soccer cleats, these symbolize Pascal's love for soccer. Although it isn't explore much in the book, it is said that Pascal enjoys soccer and watches it whenever he can. Soccer can be one of the few times in Pascal's life where he is truly home and can escape from his past. When he kicks a ball around on the pitch he is focused on playing the sport and ignores thoughts of his gruesome past.

3, The third item is a wooden bird. His dad loves to carve wood in his spare time and goes down to Ruhengeri on the second week of every month to sell his carvings to tourists. His dad was killed during the genocide because he was expendable. This bird represents his father and connection to family. Pascal, even to this day still remembers his family as loving and caring.

4, The fourth item is a pack of M&Ms. These M&Ms were purchased by him and Henri for his sister for her birthday. They subsequently ate the M&Ms after giving into their Chocolate goodness and felt guilty afterwards. Pascal then stole Hershey's Kisses because she didn't want her mother to find out that they ate any of the Chocolate. He then felt bad about his action and ended up confessing to Father Michel. These M&Ms connect to what he hates, he hates lying and he thinks it is extremely wrong, even if it is stealing a small bag of candy. He also hates Father Michel, the man who said he was Hutu first, Christian second and allowed the slaughter of a entire church of people seeking refuge.

5, The fifth item is a radio. This radio symbolizes the broadcast's by a Hutu announcer that talked about the cleanliness of the home and cockroaches. He is referring to Tutsi's when he says cockroaches. These broadcast's are a symbol of the genocide and its horrors that will never be forgotten.

6, The sixth item is a bell. This bell represents JB, Jean-Baptiste, Pascal's brother. JB wrung the Church Bell every Sunday, a job of which pascal dreamt he would do when he got older. Pascal and JB played pranks on each other often and had a playful rivalry, but they truly loved each other. JB died in the genocide, to which Pascal expressed his sadness about because although him and JB had there differences they still loved eachother

7, The seventh item is a goat. The goat symbolizes pascals chores, he took care of the goat and milked it everyday. His mother enforced his chores, and they were attempts from her to model her sons into great people because of her love for them. Their goat, Iggy was slaughtered by the Hutu's, the goat was found by Pascal's little sister Nadine to which Pascal had to ensure the situation was okay. This goat shows his Mothers love and his protection of his sister.

JB's perspective on the genocide.

Monday, 8 January 2018 0 comments
Did you find your brother?




What happened to him?

He was lying on the road motionless, in a pool of blood.

I’m so sorry.

I am too.

April 7th, 1994

Ha! Pascal tried to stop me from going to Kami’s house, I wouldn’t be surprised if that little snake told Mama. The walk to Kami’s house isn’t far, 20 minutes of walking on a gravel road before reaching the street that summits with his 2 story house. When I arrived I was greeted by his older brother Jules, and Kami himself. He introduced me to his brothers' friends, among them were Thierry, a large man who drunk as much whiskey as you could imagine. Then there was Remy, a man whose head looked like it was going to touch the roof, he towered over every single man in the room without any doubt at all. Finally, a young man named Manny, he was not the tallest or the roundest. He was, however, the loudest, he told jokes all night and got more and more drunk from Primus. 

The night continued normally until the doorbell rung, who was coming to visit Kami this late. Jules went to grab the door, before telling whoever it was to wait and told me to go to the doorway. It was Pascal, the last person I expected to ever be at Kami’s home. 

“What do you want?” I muttered. 

“Mama said you have to come home,” He said. 

I heard Thierry choke on his beer as he chuckled. 

The little snake is embarrassing me I thought, but I still asked why I had to come home. 

“Because your mommy said so, little man,” said Remy

“Dinner, I guess,” said Pascal

“What does he want?” Asked Kami

“Nothing, he was just leaving,” I said, trying to spare myself from any more embarrassment.

“Jean Baptiste has to come home, Mama said” Pascal Exclaimed, I heard the entire room burst into laughter when he rebut me, any dignity I possessed had been sucked out from my body.

“Shut up!” I hissed “I’ll come home to eat later,” I told him. 

He persisted until it was to the obvious annoyance of Kami’s older brother, he came to the door and said a few words before shutting the door in Pascal’s face and walking away from the door. Even after he left, the group continued to laugh. They continued to make fun of me throughout the night, although they had good intentions and were heavily drunk. Time continued to pass, I told Pascal I would eat later, but I don’t plan to be coming home until late. As we continued to chug beer, we heard yelling and shouting from outside the house. Cockroach, they said over and over again, it got louder, then as the engine of their trucks could no longer be heard humming it was silent once again. 

I heard the buzz of a truck going down the street with the words accompanying it, Cockroach! Cockroach! Cockroach!. The truck's engine went silent, that was a moment of relief until the yelling got louder, and louder, and louder. For the first time in my life, I looked into Kami’s eyes. I didn’t see the brash, cocky boy I grew up with. I saw fear, fear that our demise was coming. I can’t explain this moment of my life, but it is now when I contemplated my choices while my end felt near. I should have listened to Pascal, listened to the parents who raised me with love and care. I should have confessed to the sins that will haunt me in the afterlife I thought. 

Everyone in Kami’s house was quiet, it was complete silence for a moment as you could hear the birds chirping and the wind blowing through the rolling hills of Rwanda. This was the last moment like this, where I could appreciate my surroundings, my heritage. Crack! The sound of the window breaking burst my eardrums and was accompanied by a man who had launched himself through the window, he wielded nothing but a machete. It glistened under the light’s in the house and you could see the shiny steel with a stain of red, Bam! The door was kicked down by another man, his shirt was covered in blood and his eyes gave the most hateful stare I have ever seen. A stare that could only be accompanied by anger and hatred towards something, someone, cockroaches, us, Tutsi’s. 

I instantly reacted as chaos ensued while the young men in our head were opposed by bloody men with machetes pooling through the doorway, I ran upstairs as fast as I could. At the same rate, I would run to the church bell so I could ring it right on time. It was in this moment when pure adrenaline kicked in, I launched myself right off the balcony and into the backyard. The chickens squawked on the top of their lungs and the goats cried, I could only imagine the fate of them. They would see the same machete I believed would cut down my friends, people I had known for years. Kami’s fence was wooden and old, but it still stood high and over my head. Going through it was the only way out and in a single motion, I threw myself into the fence shoulder first. The pain I underwent was terrible, and couldn’t feel my left shoulder. The fence, however, toppled over and I knew I had no choice but to keep running.

I dashed through the forest, but this time I didn’t hear birds chirping, the wind blowing. I heard distant screams that were those of my friends who had been murdered by the men with machetes. I got far enough away that I thought I was safe, this was until I could hear the rustling of leafs along with cries of insanity. I knew the men knew their job wasn’t finished until every last Tutsi man, woman, and child was removed from this earth. I was panting, out of energy from all of the running and knew I could not outrun the machete men. My only option was to hunker down in a bush and praise God for both forgiveness and life. The cries got louder and louder. 

“I know you're here,” said a man

My heart dropped, it was at this second I thought my life was over, the next second I knew there was still hope and would fight to stay alive. I stopped breathing completely, the footsteps continued to get louder and louder, my life was hanging on a shoestring. Until they got quieter and quieter, would I get out of the bush at the moment, absolutely not? But I felt safe, I felt like God had answered my prayers. I lied in that bush until eventually, I fell asleep, tired from my exhausting escape. 

That morning I was not awoken by the birds calling that I was so accustomed to. It was too swift movement through the trees going with a yell.

“Someone help me!” said the Voice

It sounded so familiar, almost like that voice was a part of me. I peered out and so a figure I could all but forget, it was Kami dashing through the forest. He looked alone, why is he running I wondered. That was until I found another figure in the woods grasping a blade. This was my friend being pursued, on the brink of death. I could have stayed right there, ensured my own safety at that moment, But I didn’t. You know a man so long he becomes a brother, and there is nothing more worth saving than a brother. I jumped out of that bush just as Kami passed by me, hoping that I would be able to intercept his pursuer. 

I screamed at the top of my lungs, in this life or death moment I charged right into his pelvis and threw him down to the ground. His machete came loss from his hand. Kami heard me and stopped, watching as I struggled for control over a man larger and older than me. He tossed me off of him like a doll and went for his machete. I ran at him a second time and just as he grabbed his machete I pummeled him once again. This time he shed me off of him, and with a fierce look in his eyes he raised the machete high up with the tip facing down right at my chest. He slowly lowered the blade, granting me the worst death of all, a slow one. With a bloodthirsty grin and a hateful look in his eyes he lowered that machete, but before he could reach my chest I grabbed the blade with both hands, they would be cut terribly but that was a worthy cost for trying to prevent my death. He tried to push the blade into my chest but I clinched the blade as hard as I could, pushing it away from my chest. I spared myself enough time for Kami to charge him with a rock, Kami hit him straight across the face as hard as he could. With one blow that man was knocked off his feet and bleeding from the nose and the cheek. In this moment of rage from my best friend, he hit him again, and again, and again until his arms gave up. 

We both lay in the middle of the jungle, tired, exhausted and ready to return to our normal lives. This didn’t seem likely, however, the cries of the word Cockroach continued as we trekked through the jungle. Eventually, we reached the road that led to his house, Kami bid me farewell at this moment as he would go on his own quest to find his brothers and mourn the losses of his friends. 30 minutes later, I reached the road my house was on, determined to find my baby sister and my younger brother. I crouched down for a moment, feeling a guava thrown on the street. All types of memories popped up and I was ready to find my siblings, that was until I heard the roar of an engine and a set of headlights.

April 16th, 1994

“Where are you going Pascal?” questioned Nadine

“I am going to find JB” I replied “Just stay here and keep quiet, no one will find you if you don’t make noise”

I exited the water tank hideout and lay my feet on the gravel road adjacent to my home for the first time in days, I was scared of the yelling of the Jolts and roaring of engines. It took me 5 minutes until I saw something familiar, JB’s body lay motionless on the road. I dashed over to him, but I knew I was too late. However he died, I could do nothing to have stopped it from happening. I broke down, sobbed, I lay on JB’s body, he played in a pool of blood. This moment was one where I could do nothing but cry as it sunk into me that my brother was dead. Eventually, I got up, overridden with emotion I yelled at the top of my lungs. I grabbed the guava on the street as well as JB’s leg and dragged him back to our home. I did not care about dying anymore, I clutched our shovel and dug until I couldn’t dig anymore. I laid JB into the dugout and placed the guava on his heart. This moment I said my final words to my brother.

“I didn’t realize how much I loved you into the moment you were gone brother,” I said.

I once again clutched the shovel and buried him beneath the ground, I collapsed in the middle of the yard. All I felt was guilt and sadness, a moment that will never leave me for the rest of my days.

Connecting Things - 3rd 20%

Sunday, 7 January 2018 0 comments
Hey hey, it's me back talking about how my book connects to the concept of a charter of rights and freedoms. I will split this post into 3 separate ideas that connect to the charter in their own ways, and connect each one.

1, Freedom of Speech, in this book there are different examples of freedom of speech that involve the discrimination towards Tutsi's that include downright threats to exterminate them. Freedom of Speech is a key principle of a charter of rights and freedoms that allows us to speak freely about topics without fear of being censored. This simple right means that a man can express his disdain in anything ranging from Nissan making terrible electric cars to Politics. An example of freedom of speech being exercised pass its extent and infringed in the same passage is seen on a bus ride from pg.126-129. We hear the announcer on the radio express his disdain for Tutsi people, relating them to the work cockroach. He is using his right to say whatever he wants, but he is also discriminating others. This may discomfort others and therefore he is taking advantage of his freedom of speech by preaching his hateful views on radio which interferes with the harm principle, that states

"that no one should be forcibly prevented from acting in any way he chooses provided his acts are not invasive of the free acts of others"

then, when a passenger protests to the playing of this radio, he is met with backlash and the bus driver purposely turns up the volume so his voice cannot be heard in an act to silence him. This man should have the right to speak freely and protest to this vulgar and hateful radio broadcast but he is told by others to "shut up" and is basically censored by the bus driver. His act of turning up the radio's purpose is to silence his passenger. This infringes upon the passengers right to speak without retaliation, and speak without censorship when it is at first a polite request to turn down the radio.

2, Racial Equality, (which fits into equality rights) racial equality states that no matter your ethnicity you are granted the same equal treatment, opportunity, education, employment, and politics. In this book, the Tutsi's are treated poorly by the Hutu's because of their ethnic difference. This means that every act of a Hutu to insult a Tutsi and call them a cockroach is violating the key principle of racial equality, a collective right possessed by an ethnic group. This also means that every time a Hutu cut down a Tutsi with a machete that the Tutsi was not treated equally and was racially discriminated.

We have barely seen this type of discrimination since the start of humanity, but if I was to connect this event to something else in history it it would be to the holocaust. A similar situation where the Jewish people were sent to concentration camps and systematically murdered in an attempt to ethnically cleanse Germany. These Germans and the Jewish has bad blood for a long time, just like the Hutu's and Tutsi's.

3, Within legal rights the charter says that every person has the right to security and should feel secure. When the Hutu's started killing the Tutsi's, I can only assume that the Tutsi's were scared for their safety and felt it no way secure. This means that the government failed to provide a safe environment for all ethnic groups but instead allowed for ruthless killing with no consequence, there was also no intervention from outside groups for a long time which means that many governments aligned with Rwanda failed to provide safety and security to a large group of people living in Rwanda.

I hope you saw these connections as important and meaningful as I did and hope you enjoyed!

Thoughts after 40% of the Book

Wednesday, 13 December 2017 0 comments
Today I will be talking about my thoughts after 40% of the book, and something that disappointed me. So far this book has been quite boring and slow paced through the first 100 hundred pages. I was disappointed to find that the conflict that is supposed to be the main topic of this book has not yet even appeared except for being foreshadowed a couple times by the use of propaganda. On pages 13, 21 and 22/23 there is brief dialogue that either shows unity or dissent between the different ethnic groups in Rwanda. On pg. 23, a host on the radio says "Rwanda is suffering from a cockroach plague" "at some point something has to give". This is one example of the book foreshadowing future event by taking the readers knowledge of the subject and making them apply it while reading the book. Your average reader who is somewhat informed of the genocide when reading these passages would think that cockroaches could be people, and when the line "Something has to give" in relation to cockroaches is uttered, the reader thinks to the moment where the prime ministers plane got shot down and all hell broke lose.

With no wow moments or moments of emotion, I have felt this book to just be a chore to read. I also said in my previous post that I am looking forward to connecting to Pascal as the story progresses, which I still have been unable to do because of the lack of moments that feel important. It has been a little bit too much establishing the setting, a little more cliche moments where one sibling tells the other one to shut up and that one tells the parent. On pg. 68, Jean-Baptiste tricks Pascal into peeing his pants, Pascal States "I hate you!" "I will get you next time". These dialogues where the writer tries to entertain you with fun moments falls short in a failed attempt to engage readers because of the lack of any sort of real conflict. Although I am recapping I will give a few of my hopes for the next 50-100 pages. I hope for some emotional, heart touching moments that have been absent from this book and I want Pascal to develop as a character, so far he is a very flat character. Hopefully, within the next chunk of pages, we can see moments that develop him more as a character so this book becomes more interesting to read without the current absence of a conflict.

One synergy that isn't boring or even cringe worthy for me is between Pascal and some sort of Councillor who asks him about his experiences. The use of a time jump helps the narrative and also allows us to gain more knowledge about the story which serves as a summary to a block of pages that inform us of a single day. To conclude this post, I hope to see some true moments that will make my heart plummet/beat, instead of this rising action that is currently rising at the same rate a sloth crawls a meter. If I had a couple words to summarize the first 40% of my book, I would say this is a tedious read.

Pascal of Agabande

Monday, 11 December 2017 0 comments
               Today I get to introduce the protagonist of my book, one thousand hills. He goes by the name of Pascal and the story so far revolves around his everyday life. Pascal is a character that is easy to understand and has so far fallen flat. He is your average boy who has the stereotypical annoying older brother and younger sister. He cares for his goats and cows and loves his parents, he also has a good friend name Henri to this point. So far there is nothing other than introducing him and the supporting cast with little focus on making him an interesting character. He is simple and somewhat boring, while also being overshadowed by the larger event at hand.

               It has been hard to grasp Pascal's personality as well thus far. He seems like a nice person with a sense of righteousness, he hates lying and he hates acts of annoyance from his older brother. One thing I can connect to this is his love for the church, he goes to church every Sunday and Sunday is his favorite day of the week. This shows a commitment to being the best person he can be and helps us understand him to a degree. If I were to sum him up as a character, he is a boy who hates trouble. He is most focused on being strong academically and having fun without doing things that would be viewed as sins, he does not like to steal and he does not like liars (snakes as he calls them).
               To this point (pg. 50) I have had very few opportunities to connect and sympathize with Pascal. Lots of people have older brothers who are annoying including me and we can all connect with the annoyance that comes with an older sibling. The pacing of this book, however, has seriously stunted anybody's ability to attach with Pascal. He is no dynamic character and this is because we see no significant (or interesting) events happen in the first 50 pages (to no one's surprise). This book has focused on foreshadowing the upcoming genocide and as the story progresses I hope to be able to really connect with Pascal. I wish I could write more about the topic, but this book has been boring and uninteresting so far, with little focus on developing Pascal's character, thank you for reading.

one thousand hills novel study plan thingy

Wednesday, 6 December 2017 0 comments

The book I am reading is one thousand hills by James Roy and Noël Zhihabamwe, the reason I am reading this book is because I enjoy social issues books based on a real story, this allows me to enjoy the book and also research a little bit more about it considering its based on a real life event. I expect this novel to be an easier read for me but to be full of interesting moments, provoking me emotionally and making me think, this is what I look for out of a book. Another thing is that I have never heard of the book before, books are better for me when I am the first one I know who as read it because it feels better when it is an original book. Overall I am excited to dive into this book and not only read about a serious social issue that plagued our planet but also dive in a little bit more into the real life issue this book is based around.