Aid worker David Hohl’s account of Kigali massacres published in Persian

July 11, 2021 - 18:48

TEHRAN – “One Hundred Days” carrying Swiss aid worker David Hohl’s account of the massacres of Kigali in Rwanda has been published in Persian.

The novel penned by Lukas Bärfuss was originally published in 2008, and Markaz is the publisher of the Persian edition translated by Dara Moafi-Madani.
 
As snow falls outside his home in the Jura mountains, former Swiss aid worker David Hohl tells an old school friend how he witnessed the massacres in Kigali.

A young idealist, David arrives in Rwanda in 1990 to work for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. 

He finds a life of postcolonial privilege and boredom, inhabited by expats who know little about Rwandans and cannot be bothered to learn the local language. 

Relief from boredom comes with civil war, David watches with excitement as troops march through Kigali; Agathe, the cosmopolitan Rwandan woman he has haplessly been courting, finally succumbs to his advances. 

But who is Agathe? Is she a Europeanized student, a daughter of African farmers, locked in an eternal struggle with nature, or is she a militant Hutu inciting murder from the back of a flatbed truck? And what is David's own role in the genocide?

As the genocide rages over the course of one hundred desperate days, the clear line David has always drawn between idealism and complicity quickly begins to blur.

Born in Thun, Switzerland in 1971, Bärfuss began training as a bookseller after graduating from high school.

Since 1977 he has lived and worked as a freelance writer in Zurich. In 1998, he co-founded the independent theater group 400asa.

Bärfuss has won the Mulheimer Dramatikerpreis in 2005 for the play “Der Bus”. He also received the Swiss Book Prize in 2014 for “Koala” and the Georg Büchner Prize, the most prestigious German literature prize, in 2019.

He was the first Swiss to win the Georg Büchner Prize in 25 years, the last Swiss winner being Adolf Muschg in 1994.

Photo: Front cover of the Persian translation of “One Hundred Days”.

MMS/YAW

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