Thursday, October 04, 2007

Shaking hands with the devil

Romeo Dallaire was the Canadian General in charge of UNAMIR, the United Nations peacekeeping force that was present in Rwanda during the genocide that broke out in Kigali in 1994. The mission was disastrously ill-equiped, under-manned, and was caught without an appropriate UN mandate to enable them to actively prevent the massacre of Tutsi civilians.

Blaming himself for the failure of the mission, after leaving Rwanda, Dallaire began to spiral into a depression, which culminated in his being rushed to hospital after being found under a park bench in Hull, Quebec. He was intoxicated and suffering from the reaction of alcohol and his prescription anti-depressants, the mixture of which almost put him into a coma. The story gained national headlines and sparked a fierce debate over the rules of engagement forced upon UN peacekeepers.

He subsequently wrote a book about his experiences in Rwanda called, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda. It has recently been turned into a film.

To see the trailer go here

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