Those We Throw Away Are Diamonds: A Refugee's Search for Home (Hardcover)

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*A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice*

A stunning and heartbreaking lens on the global refugee crisis, from a man who faced the very worst of humanity and survived to advocate for displaced people around the world

One day when Mondiant Dogon, a Bagogwe Tutsi born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was only three years old, his father’s lifelong friend, a Hutu man, came to their home with a machete in his hand and warned the family they were to be killed within hours. Dogon’s family fled into the forest, initiating a long and dangerous journey into Rwanda. They made their way to the first of several UN tent cities in which they would spend decades. But their search for a safe haven had just begun.

Hideous violence stalked them in the camps. Even though Rwanda famously has a former refugee for a president in Paul Kagame, refugees in that country face enormous prejudice and acute want. For much of his life, Dogon and his family ate barely enough to keep themselves from starving. He fled back to Congo in search of the better life that had been lost, but there he was imprisoned and left without any option but to become a child soldier.

For most refugees, the camp starts as an oasis but soon becomes quicksand, impossible to leave. Yet Dogon managed to be one of the few refugees he knew to go to college. Though he hid his status from his fellow students out of shame, eventually he would emerge as an advocate for his people.

Rarely do refugees get to tell their own stories. We see them only for a moment, if at all, in flight: Syrians winding through the desert; children searching a Greek shore for their parents; families gathered at the southern border of the United States. But through his writing, Dogon took control of his own narrative and spoke up for forever refugees everywhere.

As Dogon once wrote in a poem, “Those we throw away are diamonds.”

About the Author

Mondiant Nshimiyimana Dogon is an author, human rights activist, and refugee ambassador. Born into a Congolese Tutsi family in Bagogwe tribe in North Kivu province, at age three he was forced to leave his home village, Bikenke, because of the Rwandan genocide against Tutsis that spilled over into the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since 1996 he has lived in refugee camps. Dogon holds a BA from the University of Rwanda and an MA in international education from New York University.
Jenna Krajeski is a reporter for The Fuller Project whose writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Nation, among other publications. She is the coauthor of Nobel laureate Nadia Murad’s memoir, The Last Girl, and was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan.

Praise For…

“Notwithstanding the brutality he describes, Dogon’s tale possesses a beguiling delicacy. We never lose sight of his humanity, even if he often doubts it himself . . . This book beautifully captures the colossal waste that the refugee experience—essentially a state of suspended animation—represents . . . refugees are engaged in a dogged battle to endow a modicum of dignity to lives over which they exert almost no control. Dogon rises to that challenge far better than most of us would.” —New York Times Book Review

Those We Throw Away Are Diamonds is a jarring reminder that we must never forget the refugee . . . And this is what makes Those We Throw Are Diamonds spectacular: war destroys; war burns things to the ground; war strips us naked. But our ability to retain our humanity afterward is what keeps us going.” —Isele Magazine

“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.” Library Journal

“An eloquent and necessary plea for compassion for war refugees everywhere . . . In a beautifully heartfelt, plainspoken account, a refugee from the Congo-Rwanda wars breaks his silence to reveal his family’s story of fleeing their home amid unimaginable violence . . . With the assistance of journalist Krajeski, Dogon movingly, tragically describes the trauma he and his family endured. The pain was so deep that even among them, they could not talk about what they had witnessed, which led to a terrible, debilitating silence . . . Now, Dogon is able to advocate for the plight of all who suffer the terrors of civil war. Throughout, he delivers effectively vivid details of his life and culture, and it’s clear that he is dedicated to helping others in similar terrible circumstances.” —Kirkus (starred)

“Searing debut memoir . . . The result is an immensely moving memorial to the Rwandan tragedy.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)

“In Those We Throw Away Are Diamonds we enter into the life and world of Mondiant Dogon, an exceptional young person, who has lived far beyond his years. The story is full of wisdom, goodwill, and the grace that human beings can deliver each other—even as the battles wage around us. It is a refusal to throw away memories of hardship and hope, of resilience and tragedies, of the conditions of our world and the circumstances that might lift us above the fray to offer kindness and care.” —Kao Kalia Yang, author of Somewhere in the Unknown World

“A difficult dive into one of the bloodiest genocides in modern history leading to years of continuous suffering as a refugee. Dogon brings back to life the inhumanity he faced in order to open the hearts and minds of its readers connecting them to those who have been disconnected by unimaginable tragedy.” —Atia Abawi, author of A Land of Permanent Goodbyes

“A harrowing story told with wisdom and grace, in a crisp, sensory style that instantly transports. From the first page, my heart was in my mouth.” —Dina Nayeri, author of The Ungrateful Refugee

“Mondiant Dogon takes us on a journey through a heartrending window into the lives of the humans that live in Congo, Rwanda and Gihembe. Besides the heartbreaking accounts in the story, Mondiant also gives us the positive and human stories that do exist in his story, his families and his fellow refugees. This book should be read world-wide to counter the rhetoric of refugees as nothing but helpless, unable to do anything for their lives. This book shows otherwise.” —Abdi Nor Iftin, author of Call Me American
“This incandescent book will transform you. Those We Throw Away Are Diamonds offers an immersive, riveting look at one Bagogwe man’s singular journey from war in Congo to safety, in which good and evil are relative when war offers no good choices to anyone, when safety is an illusion, and when forgiveness is fraught. It is an uncompromising study in colonial powers as the root cause of rising displacement after centuries of redrawing boundaries, fomenting ethnic crises, and robbing regions of natural resources. But even as it offers high-level, international context, the book remains focused on the people whose lives are destroyed by war and policies, by disinterest and pity. Mondiant Dogon writes the stories of his community with such candor, compassion, and love that they can never be erased. I know I will never forget them.” —Jessica Goudeau, author of After the Last Border
Product Details
ISBN: 9781984881281
ISBN-10: 1984881280
Publisher: Penguin Press
Publication Date: October 12th, 2021
Pages: 336
Language: English

How to read more
( Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource shares thousands of images that span decades of Birminghams vibrant past)

How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.


And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.


15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.


50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.


Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.


Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.


Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.



Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.


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