As deputy to the U.S. ambassador in Rwanda, Joyce E. Leader witnessed the tumultuous prelude to genocide—a period of political wrangling, human rights abuses, and many levels of ominous, ever-escalating violence. From Hope to Horror offers her insider’s account of the nation’s efforts to move toward democracy and peace and analyzes the challenges of conducting diplomacy in settings prone to—or engaged in—armed conflict.
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Leader traces the three-way struggle for control among Rwanda’s ethnic and regional factions. Each sought to shape democratization and peacemaking to its own advantage. The United States, hoping to encourage a peaceful transition, midwifed negotiations toward an accord. The result: a revolutionary blueprint for political and military power-sharing among Rwanda’s competing factions that met categorical rejection by the “losers” and a downward spiral into mass atrocities. Drawing on the Rwandan experience, Leader proposes ways diplomacy can more effectively avert the escalation of violence by identifying the unintended consequences of policies and emphasizing conflict prevention over crisis response.
Compelling and expert, From Hope to Horror fills in the forgotten history of the diplomats who tried but failed to prevent a human rights catastrophe.