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Archive for June 24th, 2008

Remembering Gatumba, four years on

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The most heart-wrenching account of brutality that I’ve ever heard was the testimony given by Janvier Mudagiri at the August 2006 commemoration of the attack that had taken place at the Gatumba refugee camp in Burundi two years earlier. Janvier recounted how, after the initial onslaught, in which the attackers hunted down and killed every Banyamulenge Tutsi they could find, everything went quiet. A little while later, a group of men returned, calling out that they had come to rescue whoever was still alive. Janvier, who was hiding in the ruins of the camp with a group of children, realised quickly that these were not rescuers, but killers, bent on finishing off what they had started. But amid the chaotic situation, he was unable to stop a number of the children from running out towards their pretended rescuers – and could do nothing but watch as they were gunned down.  

This year’s commemoration event, which is being organised by Ubuntu, the international peacebuilding group founded by those who lost loved ones at Gatumba, will take place at the office of Amnesty International UK, on:

Saturday 16th August, from 1.30pm.

The full address is:

The Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA.

A number of the survivors will be joining the commemoration, and Ubuntu campaigners will be discussing both the ongoing struggle for justice, and the measures that need to be taken to stem the flood of lethal weapons into Central Africa.  

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Written by Richard Wilson

June 24, 2008 at 10:08 pm

Posted in Titanic Express

“Stage Mum”, by Lisa Gee

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Lisa Gee is great – and I’m not just saying that because we share an agent. She’s one of these writers who runs directly counter to the grumpy-oddball stereotype – positive, upbeat, outgoing; all those things that an author isn’t supposed to be. Every once in a while a group of us gets together to compare notes. The last time around I was intrigued to learn that Dora, Lisa’s six-year old daughter, had landed a part in the “Sound of Music”, and was playing to packed-out audiences in the West End.  Not only this, but Lisa, having found herself immersed in a world of auditions, late nights and the occasional tantrum,  was already well on her way to writing a book about the experience of being a “Stage Mum”. Having been lucky enough to see some of the early notes, I’m very much looking forward to reading the final version, which comes out on July 3rd.

Written by Richard Wilson

June 24, 2008 at 9:36 pm

Posted in Books