God Sleeps in Rwanda

A Journey of Transformation

God Sleeps in Rwanda

Joseph Sebarenzi’s parents, seven siblings, and countless other family members were among 800,000 Tutsi brutally murdered over the course of ninety days in 1994 by extremist Rwandan Hutu—an efficiency that exceeded even that of the Nazi Holocaust. His father sent him away to school in Congo as a teenager, telling him, “If we are killed, you will survive.” When Sebarenzi returned to Rwanda after the genocide, he was elected speaker of parliament, only to be forced into a daring escape again when he learned he was the target of an assassination plot.

Poetic and deeply moving, God Sleeps in Rwanda shows us how the lessons of Rwanda can prevent future tragedies from happening all over the world. Readers will be inspired by the eloquence and wisdom of a man who has every right to be bitter and hateful but chooses instead to live a life of love, compassion, and forgiveness.
  • Atria Books | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416575771 | 
  • January 2011
List Price $21.00 (price may vary by retailer)



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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for God Sleeps in Rwanda includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Joseph Sebarenzi. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Joseph Sebarenzi’s first encounter with the horrors of ethnic violence was as a young boy growing up in Rwanda, hiding under his neighbor’s bed from Hutu men who were trying to force their way in to kill him and his family. As years of uneasy peace passed, Joseph became witness to escalating animosity and unrest in his homeland. Living in Canada in 1994, he found himself unable to do anything to stop the murder of an estimated 800,000 Tutsis, including most of his family. In the aftermath of the tragedy, rather than become consumed by his rage and despair, Sebarenzi made the courageous decision to return to Rwanda and serve his country in its time of need. But as Speaker of Parliament, he soon found that even with Tutsis in power, government corruption and human rights pervaded, making true reconciliation impossible. Today, exiled to the Unite see more

About the Author

Joseph Sebarenzi
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Joseph Sebarenzi

JOSEPH SEBARENZI is the former speaker of the Rwandan parliament, a position he held from 1997 until 2000. In this role he represented his country all over the world,  including as a speaker at the United Nations, the European Union Assembly in Belgium and France, the Inter-parlimentary Union in Egypt, and the U.N. Human Rights Commission in South Africa.

A survivor of the 1994 genocide, today Mr. Sebarenzi is a professional public speaker who has spoken about reconciliation and conflict management to thousands of people at high schools, colleges, universities, and fundraising events across the United States and Canada. He has also provided expert commentary on National Public Radio, BBC, and the Voice of America on matters related to genocide, reconciliation, and restorative justice.

In addition, Mr.Sebarenzi serves on the faculty at the School for International Training in Vermont, teaching reconcilation and conflict management courses. He holds a master's degree in international and intercultural management from the School for International Training and is a doctoral candidate in peace studies at the National University of Ireland. In 2001, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of law from Marlboro College in Vermont.