Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks on You Alone May Live by Mary K. Blewitt OBE

  • April 08, 2010 16:20
  • Katy Scholes

Mary Blewitt

"Mary Blewitt is one of the heroes of our time. For years she has worked, too often without help, with the survivors of the genocide in Rwanda. She has listened to their stories, brought them practical assistance, and help them rebuild their shattered lives. That takes courage of the highest order.

Too often, after humanly inflicted tragedies, we hear the words “Never again.” They were said after the Holocaust, yet the Rwandan massacre – 800,000 people brutally murdered in a mere hundred days – happened despite the warnings given before the event. Too often, we’ve had reason to recall the words of Martin Luther King, “In the end we will remember, not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”

It is all too easy, after events such as these, to think of the victims. It is much harder to think of the survivors and what they need in order to survive. They have lost their families. Their world has been destroyed. In the case of Rwanda, the crisis goes even deeper because so many of those who were not killed were deliberately infected with AIDS. They need our help – and help begins with the act of listening to, and empowering them to tell, their stories.

This too is deeply difficult. It took fifty years for many of the Holocaust survivors to be able to speak of what had happened, so painful was the memory of trauma and the trauma of memory. Yet the telling is essential, both for the survivors and for us. We need to be reminded of what happened. And they need to speak as part of the healing of memory and mind.

This is a book of tears, tragedies and wounds, of lives lost, injuries sustained, and of much work still to be done. I hope it speaks to you, for we are all bound by a covenant of global solidarity, and though we cannot change the past, only by remembering it do we have a chance of changing the future".


You Alone May Live by Mary K. Blewitt OBE

  • April 08, 2010 16:16
  • Katy Scholes


This week, on the anniversary of the 100 days of killing that we now call the Rwandan genocide, Biteback is privileged to publish You Alone May Live by Mary K. Blewitt OBE, a harrowing and important account of her own experiences.

Over a period of 100 days from 6th April 1994, largely unimpeded by the international community, up to a million Rwandan Tutsi were murdered by Hutu militias in the most appalling episode of ethnic cleansing since the Second World War.

Fifty members of Mary Kayitesi Blewitt’s family were slaughtered in cold blood during the genocide.

Mary was lucky. She managed to locate the bodies of her loved ones and lay them to rest. After the killing ended she travelled the capital, Kigali, witnessed the exhumation of mass graves and struggled to understand the scale of the killings.

To try to make sense of what had happened, Mary undertook voluntary work, believing she had been allowed to survive in order to help others like her. She became a figure of trust with survivors seeking her out to tell their own stories of survival. One woman told how she was raped in front of members of her own family who were then murdered. She was allowed to live and told, “You alone may live, so that you will die of sadness.” This was a common experience amongst women survivors.

You Alone May Live is an important book about grief and survival in the face of unimaginable trauma. It traces the arc of Mary’s own extraordinary journey from a childhood in exile in Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda, to trying to come to terms with the loss of her family in the genocide, to setting up the Survivors Fund (SURF) a charity providing aid to Rwandan survivors. Poignant, sad and sometimes overwhelming, this book records Mary’s story but also encompasses the painful testimonies of those who survived and shared their memories with her.


FIGHTING BULL, the Autobiography of Nigel Farage, published 25th March

  • March 24, 2010 17:37
  • Katy Scholes

“I did not enter politics out of philanthropy but rather as an extension of my own annoyance and resentment at having inherited freedoms infringed by power-crazed idiots spouting gibberish. It gives me particular pleasure, then, to know that we have empowered many others and caused them too to doubt the authority whereby such people presume to grant us rights where we can manage perfectly well with innate freedoms.”


In an age of colourless bureaucrats, Nigel Farage is a politician you are unable to ignore, causing controversy and admiration in equal measure. What cannot be denied is the effect he has had on British and European politics. A fun-loving iconoclast whose motto is “work hard and play harder”, Farage’s charismatic leadership and determination to battle the forces of anti-libertarianism have made him a Robin Hood figure to many, and propelled his party, UKIP, into a position of real power in the country.



A passionate advocate of living life to the full, Farage’s journey into politics has been fuelled by a desire to resist unnecessary authority. He resents being told what to do, especially by faceless bureaucrats in Europe.



Told with Farage’s customary wit and humour, Fighting Bull is a thoroughly engaging look at an extraordinary life, including the spills – a near fatal car accident and surviving testicular cancer – and the thrills – a boisterous boyhood in London and a career as a City trader, to battling bureaucracy in Europe and defending the nation’s hard-won freedoms against erosion from without and within.



His account of his journey into the Brussels labyrinth is compelling. The book tells of loyalty and treachery in his own ranks and of his struggle to overcome media preconceptions. It features sometimes hilarious and often terrifying encounters with a stellar supporting cast, including Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Nicolas Sarkozy,José Manuel Barroso, and UKIP’s short-lived, silver-gilt mascot – Robert Kilroy-Silk. In September 2009 Nigel Farage announced he would stand against John Bercow, the newly elected Speaker of the House of Commons, in his Buckingham constituency in the next election, despite a modern convention that the speaker is not challenged for re-election. Fighting Bull is a candid, colourful life story by a fascinating and controversial character. It also shows that one fearless, determined individual can still make a difference.




  • March 24, 2010 13:09
  • Katy Scholes


On Thursday this week, Biteback publishes a new book called HOW TO CUT PUBLIC SPENDING (AND STILL WIN AN ELECTION) by the TaxPayers' Alliance. It's desgined to advise all political parties on how they can cut government spending, borrowing and debt and still remain popular.

The Government is spending more than £5 for every £4 it raises in taxes, racking up hundreds of billions in new debts. The recession has exposed the parlous state of the public finances. Politicians irresponsible borrowing threatens to create a new economic crisis, driven by excessive, wasteful spending. If serious cuts aren't made then Britons face years of tax hikes and economic decline. All the major parties are planning to cut spending but none of them have set out a credible programme to make the tens of billions of cuts needed. In this book, the Taxpayers' Alliance presents the most thorough investigation yet of this vital issue and a plan to turn things around. Edited by Matthew Sinclair, their Research Director, it includes a detailed examination of the records of the major parties and sets out a detailed programme of potential cuts and essential reforms to ensure taxpayers get better value for money. Expert authors from around the world set out their experience of what it takes to successfully get a country's public finances in order.


Jo Phillips - Porn or Politics?

  • March 15, 2010 13:38
  • Katy Scholes

I only ask after a weekend which has been dominated by phrases such as " well hung... messily hung... swinging ". All of which of course, refer to the increasing speculation that there will be a hung parliament which is arousing constitutional experts to a state rarely seen or heard. Meanwhile the playground bullies of the political press have failed to goad Nick Clegg into declaring for either Tories or Labour . 'Tis the eternal question that faces Lib Dem leaders " Who do you prefer? Who will you work with?" and much time is spent in Lib Dem leader land trying to find elegant ways of refusing to answer the one question that voters are perfectly entitled to ask, particularly if they're about to switch allegiance. However, Nick's sound bite assertion that he was no kingmaker but the 45 million voters of Britain are is one that should be relayed to everyone who's got the chance to vote in the next few weeks.

I'm not a gambling woman although for a nano second on Saturday I contemplated putting a fiver on West Ham to beat Chelsea on 14 to 1 odds, but if the parties are as close as the polls suggest then all the more reason to get out and vote when it really could make a difference. Even if we do end up with something messily hung that only HM The Queen can sort out.