Cockroaches: A Memoir (Scholastique Mukasonga)

"The killers attacked the house until every last trace was wiped away. the bush has covered everything over. it's as if we never existed. and yet my family once lived there. humiliated, afraid, waiting day after day for what was to come, what we didn't have a word for: genocide. and I alone preserve the memory of it. that's why I'm writing this."

"The killers attacked the house until every last trace was wiped away. the bush has covered everything over. it's as if we never existed. and yet my family once lived there. humiliated, afraid, waiting day after day for what was to come, what we didn't have a word for: genocide. and I alone preserve the memory of it. that's why I'm writing this."

Rwanda/France / 2017

In 1973, political unrest forced a young Scholastique Mukasonga to flee her home country of Rwanda for Burundi. Years later, she settled in France. In 1994—two years after coming to Europe—she was horrified as genocide swept Rwanda—where her family still lived. At the conclusion of the genocide, she learned that 27 of her family members—including her mother—were murdered. They were killed simply for being Tutsi. The title, "Cockroaches," refers to the thing that many Hutus considered the Tutsi people to be; vermin to be exterminated. Mukasonga's memoir is a testament to her family's lives and to intense resilience in the face of grief and tragedy.