How a 1977 massacre still shapes Angola today.
Lara Pawson’s In the Name of the People narrates through personal accounts the events of the failed coup d’état carried out by Nito Alves’ followers against the then president Agostinho Neto in 1977 in Angola. In response, the forces of Neto tortured and killed thousands and thousands of people, and kept many others in jail for years.
Reviewing In the Name of the People for the Wall Street Journal, Cassie Werber has called the book both ‘engrossing and disturbing… reminding us of just how elusive historical truth can be.’
The events of May 27 – which are largely unknown to Westerners – remain discussed in hushed tones in Angola, if at all. A traumatic history, often too painful for eyewitnesses to relay, continues to shape the nation.
Cassie Werber’s explains:
‘Without concrete evidence—there are no death lists, no secret files unearthed [the events] must still find its way to a conclusion. Some members and supporters of the MPLA say no more than 2,000 people died after the coup or protest, whichever it was, while others claim 90,000 died. Do numbers matter? After a brutal, 14-year liberation war, followed by 27 years of civil war, Angola is desensitized to violence. That’s without even going into the trans-Atlantic slave trade.’
Read the review in full at the Wall Street Journal online. ■