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Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda (2003)

de Roméo Dallaire

Altres autors: Brent Beardsley, Samantha Power (Pròleg)

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1,580319,695 (4.27)64
For the first time in the United States comes the tragic and profoundly important story of the legendary Canadian general who "watched as the devil took control of paradise on earth and fed on the blood of the people we were supposed to protect." When Roméo Dallaire was called on to serve as force commander of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda, he believed that his assignment was to help two warring parties achieve the peace they both wanted. Instead, he was exposed to the most barbarous and chaotic display of civil war and genocide in the past decade, observing in just one hundred days the killings of more than eight hundred thousand Rwandans. With only a few troops, his own ingenuity and courage to direct his efforts, Dallaire rescued thousands, but his call for more support from the world body fell on deaf ears. In Shake Hands with the Devil, General Dallaire recreates the awful history the world community chose to ignore. He also chronicles his own progression from confident Cold Warrior to devastated UN commander, and finally to retired general struggling painfully, and publicly, to overcome posttraumatic stress disorder--the highest-ranking officer ever to share such experiences with readers.… (més)
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Es mostren 1-5 de 31 (següent | mostra-les totes)
A first hand account of one man's descent into darkness. While Mr Dallaire isn't a writer he still manages to have the reader right beside him. If you want to know about Rwanda debacle this is the book. ( )
  charlie68 | Jun 13, 2022 |
A compelling account of the genocide in Rwanda ( )
  dacejav | May 16, 2022 |
In 1994, between April 7 and July 15, nearly one million innocent people were killed in the Rwandan Genocide. Subsequent wars in the region killed more than five million people. The genocide was planned years in advice, perpetrated by racist nationalists bent on removing Tutsis from the planet. In "Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda," Roméo Dallaire convinces readers that these tragedies were easily preventable, but dithering politicians and bureaucrats all over the world watched in disinterest.

The book is compelling. Having read extensively for academic and personal reasons about the genocide, I knew many of the details listed below, so Dallaire's book had been sitting on my shelf unread for almost 15 years. I wish I had read it sooner because it is Dallaire and his military subordinates - not international aide groups or politicians - who were the international witnesses to these crimes.

The book moves quickly because it reads like a daily journal. Although it can be very disturbing and depressing given the nature of the genocide, there are moments of manic highs, too. It is emotional and frustrating because readers will be able to quickly identify with Dallaire's heart. He is effuse in praising his his-working aides and does not hold back at offering his personal assessments of the people who impede his work.

Dallaire's book, dedicated to victims, including the soldiers killed under his command, details his negotiations to stop the genocide and his actions during the genocide to bring an end to it. Assigned to Rwanda as part of a United Nations team in the summer of 1993 in order to help implement a peace agreement between the standing government and an incoming rebel army, he saw firsthand that a humanitarian crisis was coming. His documented pleas for help from New York, Paris, Nairobi, Geneva, Washington DC, and London in the first part of the book were willfully ignored as he and his small team of military observers shuttled around the country trying to avert the disaster. He was denied requests for funding for communications equipment, rations for his soldiers, office space, and even simple soccer balls to replace the banana-leaf balls used in refugee camps.

Extremist politicians on the government side began openly looking for a way to instigate the attack that led to the genocide. Their wish was granted when their moderate president's plane went down, probably from their own missile. Even after this catalyst, Dallaire's team's cries for help continued to be ignored. The bulk of "Shake Hands with the Devil" documents the daily routine of these brave observers who were abandoned by the UN and their supporting states. The book presents awful images and stories of the genocide and the people whom the UN also abandoned.

Dallaire asked for only 5,000 troops in order to save the country, but he was denied time and time again as bureaucrats and politicians in cities around the world took weekends off and justified his cries by telling him that the UN doesn't work quickly. That time was dizzying, destructive, and counter-productive when the French finally arrived to establish camps that protected runaway génocidaires, those responsible for openly slaughtering Tutsis in churches, orphanages, hamlets, and checkpoints in cities. By that time, nearly a million people had been cut down with machetes. The génocidaires rearmed themselves in the international refugee camps, leading to the subsequent Congo Wars.

In the last, shortest section of the book, Dallaire offers suggestions for improving how governments respond to humanitarian crises outside their borders. His suggestions are reasonable. In the case of Rwanda, simple support for implementing the peace agreement would have been enough. Unfortunately, as we have seen time and again, from Sudan to Myanmar to Wester China, the international community, including national capitals, relief organizations, and the UN, refuse to use the needed fiscal and physical muscle in order to save lives.

"Shake Hands with the Devil" has an extensive index and a glossary of terms and names, although Dallaire's easy-to-read style reminds readers of who he is meeting and working with, so there is little reason to consult it. ( )
  mvblair | Feb 9, 2022 |
Shake Hands with the Devil by Romeo Dallaire (2005) ( )
  arosoff | Jul 10, 2021 |
Very deep and impactful read, I had to stop reading as it was just too much. It was such a letdown in humanity that it impacted my own mood. Very well written, and you can feel the frustration he was facing in the midst of this humanitarian disaster. I hope this type of event never re-occurs. ( )
  sjh4255 | May 4, 2021 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Roméo Dallaireautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Beardsley, Brentautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Power, SamanthaPròlegautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
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To my family and the families of all those who served with me in Rwanda, with deepest gratitude
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It was an absolutely magnificent day in May 1994.
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May this book help inspire people around the globe to rise above national interest and self-interest to recognize humanity for what it really is: a panoply of human beings who, in their essence, are the same.
The police were protecting the soldiers who were there to protect law and order!
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For the first time in the United States comes the tragic and profoundly important story of the legendary Canadian general who "watched as the devil took control of paradise on earth and fed on the blood of the people we were supposed to protect." When Roméo Dallaire was called on to serve as force commander of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda, he believed that his assignment was to help two warring parties achieve the peace they both wanted. Instead, he was exposed to the most barbarous and chaotic display of civil war and genocide in the past decade, observing in just one hundred days the killings of more than eight hundred thousand Rwandans. With only a few troops, his own ingenuity and courage to direct his efforts, Dallaire rescued thousands, but his call for more support from the world body fell on deaf ears. In Shake Hands with the Devil, General Dallaire recreates the awful history the world community chose to ignore. He also chronicles his own progression from confident Cold Warrior to devastated UN commander, and finally to retired general struggling painfully, and publicly, to overcome posttraumatic stress disorder--the highest-ranking officer ever to share such experiences with readers.

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