The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2021
80 JULY-AUGUST 2021 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL prepared to return Bill to the United States. But African wit- nesses nearby reported that the couple had been arguing, then struggling with each other in what looked like a fight. Shortly thereafter, local Tanzanian authori- ties arrested Bill Kinsey and charged him with the murder of his wife. The trial would take place in a court room in Mwanza, on the shores of Lake Victoria. Author Peter Reid tells the story in Every Hill a Burial Place . A Peace Corps teacher in Mwanza at the time of the trial and later a public interest lawyer in Cali- fornia, Reid impressively documents the events and the actions of the wide array of players involved, both American and African (all the product of his extensive interviews). Also critical as source material are the detailed notes Reid’s interviewees fortunately kept and Peace Corps docu- ments. His book is both a movie-ready legal thriller and a study of two cultures brought together to decide a single ques- tion. The trial generated challenges well beyond the immediate personal one before Bill Kinsey. President Julius Nyerere had brought his young country of Tanganyika to independence less than five years before. Only two years before, Nyerere had brokered a merger with the offshore island of Zanzibar. He now faced an unwanted mur- der trial of an American citizen whose home-state politicians were demanding that President Lyndon Johnson bring Bill Kinsey home by military force. The Peace Corps itself was less than five years old, already the personal legacy of John F. Kennedy but still getting on its feet. Peace Corps Tanzania director Paul Sack, a successful real estate developer from San Francisco, was faced with a stressful choice: What were his and his organization’s obligations to the deceased Peppy and her bereaved family, and what were their obligations to Bill, suddenly on trial for his life? In Washington, new Peace Corps director Jack Vaughn had been in the job less than two months; he needed to answer those same questions. Readers also meet Oxford-trained Byron Georgiadis, the defense lawyer hired from Nairobi to defend Bill; Tan- zania police inspector Martin Kifunta; Peace Corps doctor TomMcHugh; senior state prosecutor Ededen Effiwat, a Nige- rian lawyer on loan to Tanzania; Yale law- yer Carroll Brewster advising the Kinseys; British judge Harold Platt; and much of the American expatriate community in and around Mwanza at the time. Peter Reid (full disclosure: we have been friends since Peace Corps days) has done a superb job in laying out this inter- national drama. He is consistently fact- based and judicious in his judgments. This is not a potboiler or an accusa- tory effort: It is a fine piece of history of an unlikely event at a fascinating time and place when both the Peace Corps and the Republic of Tanzania were trying to find their way forward. For more information about the book, go to www.peterreidwriter.com. n John R. Ratigan is a retired Foreign Service consular officer. Following service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania, Mr. Ratigan joined the Foreign Service in 1973. During a 24-year career he served in Iran, Singapore, Egypt, Canada and Korea, in addition to assignments in Washington, D.C.
Made with FlippingBook