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The author of the acclaimed Stringer: A Reporters Journey in the Congo now moves on to Rwanda for a gripping look at a country caught still in political and social unrest, years after the genocide that shocked the world.
Bad News is the story of Anjan Sundaram's time running a journalist's training program out of Kigali, the capital city of one of Africa's most densely populated countries, Rwanda. President Kagames regime, which seized power after the genocide that ravaged its population in 1994, is often held up as a beacon for progress and modernity in Central Africa and is the recipient of billions of dollars each year in aid from Western governments and international organizations. Lurking underneath this shining vision of a modern, orderly state, however, is the powerful climate of fear springing from the government's brutal treatment of any voice of dissent. "You can't look and write," a policeman ominously tells Sundaram, as he takes notes at a political rally. In Rwanda, the testimony of the individualthe evidence of one's own experienceis crushed by the pense unique: the single way of thinking and speaking, proscribed by those in power.
A vivid portrait of a country at an extraordinary and dangerous place in its history, Bad News is a brilliant and urgent parable on freedom of expression, and what happens when that power is seized. An Amazon Best Book of January 2016: While Bad News is Anjan Sundaram's telling of his experience running a journalist's training program in Rwanda from 2009 to 2013, it isn't overly heavy on journalism or activism, but rather brings the feeling of a suspense or thriller plot. Through excellent writing, Sundaram demonstrates the overwhelming presence of fear and control from the Rwandan government and the constant steps they take to prevent anyone from speaking out against their single way of thinking. This is very much a story of the power and need for freedom of expression wherever you are--whether in Africa or the United States. --Penny Mann
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