Monday, April 09, 2007

Rwanda and Sierre Leone

Tim Challies just posted an interesting review on "The Bishop of Rwanda".

The bloody chaos that has reigned in places such as Sierra Leone and Rwanda really displays the depth of depravity and filth that lies in the deepest parts of the human heart. It seems unimaginable that humans could resort to such things, but history has proven that the human heart is fully capable of such evil. A moving depiction of what happened in Rwanda is given in the movie Hotel Rwanda

Tim's review of that book caught my eye because I'm currently reading A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah. It is the memoir of a young man who is now in the U.S.A., but fought a solider in Sierra Leone's civil war as a 12 year old. I plan to blog a review of it when I am done.

I think we here in the West need to be better informed of what has happened historically in Africa. I've probably spent more time reading about Africa than your average person, but I still feel quite ignorant, particuarly about places like Rwanda. It is of great value to read books from all sort of perspectives on places like Sierre Leone and Rwanda. Also, being aquainted with what has transpired there will cause us to be more mindful of the plight of many African countries, hopefully helping us to do more to help. The civil wars of Africa remind us how fragile life is and how depraved a society can get, a fact that sometimes can be lost when we live lives that are very isolated and posh.

More than anything, the violence that transpired in Africa points to the fact that Africa, as well as North America, needs the genuine gospel, not Westernized culture, another political gimic, or a new-and-improved peace strategy. And they need understanding and sympathy from us, too.

Of course, you can't really know what it would be like to be in a civil war in Africa until you've been through it, or at least have been really close to someone who has been through it. But reading is a small start in the right direction.

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