Those We Throw Away Are Diamonds: A Refugee’s Search for Home

Penguin Pr. Oct. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781984881281. $28. MEMOIR
Human rights activist Dogon has written a searing account of the horrific violence his family endured in their native Congo, and then of living as refugees in Rwanda. Even in the first refugee camp they reached after fleeing the genocide of Tutsis in their ancestral homeland, they were not safe. As a young child, Dogon saw his uncle beheaded with a machete; he later witnessed the murder of his grandmother and the rape and murder of his aunt. After spending years in UN tent camps, he and his father and brother returned to Democratic Republic of Congo and encountered endless violence; at one point, Congolese rebels forced Dogon to be a child soldier. Miraculously, the family was able to return to Rwanda. Dogon saw then that his only escape from refugee camps would be through education; he became an outstanding student, which led to a sponsor paying for him to get a master’s degree in international education at New York University. Throughout this memoir, Dogon shares stories about his family and their efforts to find safety. His plea is that the world does not forget the many refugees still living in stateless purgatory.
VERDICT Those interested in international relations, immigration, and social work will find Dogon’s firsthand account essential reading.
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