Mondiant Dogon

Cindy Seip

Mondiant Dogon is a Congolese author, human rights activist, and refugee ambassador. He has lived in refugee camps since 1996. His collaborator, 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. Dogon, a Bagogwe Tutsi born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was only 3 years old when 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, the start of a dangerous journey into Rwanda. They made their way to the first of several U.N. tent cities in which they would spend decades. For most refugees, the camp starts as an oasis but soon becomes quicksand, impossible to leave. Hideous violence stalked Dogon and his family in the camps. Rarely do refugees get to tell their own stories, but through his writing, Dogon took control of his narrative, and in Those We Throw Away Are Diamonds: A Refugee’s Search for Home (Penguin Press), he speaks for refugees everywhere. Publishers Weekly called it a “searing debut memoir … The result is an immensely moving memorial to the Rwandan tragedy.”