Those we throw away are diamonds : a refugee's search for home

by Dogon, Mondiant,

Format: Print Book 2021
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Summary
A stunning and heartbreaking lens on the global refugee crisis, from a man who faced the very worst of humanity and survived to advocate for displaced people around the world

One day when Mondiant Dogon, a Bagogwe Tutsi born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was only three years old, his father's lifelong friend, a Hutu man, came to their home with a machete in his hand and warned the family they were to be killed within hours. Dogon's family fled into the forest, initiating a long and dangerous journey into Rwanda. They made their way to the first of several UN tent cities in which they would spend decades. But their search for a safe haven had just begun.

Hideous violence stalked them in the camps. Even though Rwanda famously has a former refugee for a president in Paul Kagame, refugees in that country face enormous prejudice and acute want. For much of his life, Dogon and his family ate barely enough to keep themselves from starving. He fled back to Congo in search of the better life that had been lost, but there he was imprisoned and left without any option but to become a child soldier.

For most refugees, the camp starts as an oasis but soon becomes quicksand, impossible to leave. Yet Dogon managed to be one of the few refugees he knew to go to college. Though he hid his status from his fellow students out of shame, eventually he would emerge as an advocate for his people.

Rarely do refugees get to tell their own stories. We see them only for a moment, if at all, in flight: Syrians winding through the desert; children searching a Greek shore for their parents; families gathered at the southern border of the United States. But through his writing, Dogon took control of his own narrative and spoke up for forever refugees everywhere.

As Dogon once wrote in a poem, "Those we throw away are diamonds."
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "A human rights activist remembers a childhood besieged by violence in Congo and Rwanda in this searing debut memoir. Dogon was born in North Kivu, a region of Congo on the border with Rwanda that was populated by ethnic Hutus and Tutsis; after the 1994 Rwandan genocide, when he was three years old, Hutu attacks drove his Tutsi family from their village. Fleeing to Rwanda, they survived massacres inflicted by Hutu militias on Tutsi refugee camps. Dogon later returned to Congo with his father, but at the age of 11 he was imprisoned and witnessed the rapes and murders of inmates by Congolese soldiers. He eventually escaped to join pro-Tutsi rebels before returning to Rwanda, where he got an education, but still experienced poverty, hunger, and the despair of being a stateless outcast in a society that reviled refugees. There is shocking suffering here, and Dogon conveys its psychological impact with limpid, subdued prose. ("I turned my little sister's head from side to side," he recalls of his sister's death from starvation. "It moved without resistance... like a toy.... I felt as though I was no longer human.") The result is an immensely moving memorial to the Rwandan tragedy. Agent: Binky Urban, ICM. (Oct.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Dogon, Mondiant -- Childhood and youth.
Refugees -- Rwanda -- Biography.
Tutsi (African people) -- Congo (Democratic Republic) -- Biography.
Refugees -- Rwanda -- Social conditions.
Refugees.
Refugees -- Social conditions.
Tutsi (African people)
Congo (Democratic Republic)
Rwanda.
Biographies.
Publisher New York :2021
Contributors Krajeski, Jenna, author.
Language English
Description pages cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 9781984881281
1984881280
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