I saw this comment from someone in the new Rwandan Survivors blog at this entry:Rwandan Survivors
, so I felt compelled to defend D'Allaire. I think I may have gotten a little too impassioned.
I don't mean to be too rude but is the irony here not apparent to anyone? Immediately before the post once again touting the heroic General Dallaire, is a post with these words in it from the story of a Rwandan Genocide survivor:"On 6 April, we made our way to the Ecole Technique Officielle (ETO), where some people had already sought refuge with the UN. We had protection and felt safe, but on 11 April, the UN troops drove away. As they left, the Interahamwe and government soldiers came. They told us we would be taken to Nyanza. They made us run. Some people were praying, others singing. As we ran, some people were hacked with machetes and others killed…"Now why is it again that the leader of the U.N. troops who deserted these people is a hero? Seriously what did he do that was so wonderful? It seems quite likely to me that General Dallaire's impotence was a leading factor in encouraging the genocide. And he's a hero in Canada? Has the world gone mad?
My response, which I emailed to him as well:
Subject: Your post in the Rwandan survivors blog
Date: January 28, 2006 11:54:26 AM EST (CA)
I saw your comment, and I felt compelled to respond with this comment. Please try to learn more about what happened in Rwanda, so that it can never happen again, as it is about to in Darfur. We, the citizens of powerful nations like yours and mine have a responsibility to speak out, and demand that something be done. You can learn more from Romeo D'Allaire's book and documentary called "Shake Hands with the Devil". To save you the trouble of going back to the site, I have copied my comment below.
Greg, I also suggest you educate yourself before condemning D'Allaire in such a harsh way. The impotence you mention is not that of General D'Allaire, but rather, a result of the uncaring attitude of the world community, including You and I, of shrugging it's shoulders, and turning it's back. We, the citizens of the western world, took away D'Allaire's power, and he is doing everything in his power to make sure that it never happens again.
Those forces you mention were pulled out by the Belgian and other gov'ts without his agreement, and against his direct requests for more troops. He asked for 44,000 troops, and after the Belgian gov't withdrew their troops, he was left with far less than 1,000 Should he have done more? Undoubtedly. Could he have done more? I don't think there's anyone that could honestly, unequivocably say yes.
D'Allaire did all he could to save all the people that he could, and in reward, the UN pulled his troops out, and left him there to watch hundreds of thousands of people die, while he tried in vain to save those the few people he had the forces to protect.
The trauma of that experience mentally and emotionally incapacited him with PTSD on his return to Canada. He ended up attempting suicide.Now, rather than trying to "put the past behind him", or attain "closure" he loves Rwanda, goes back there on a regular basis, and he's going around the world to try and get that message out, so that it never happens again.
Although I am a Canadian, and I consider him a hero, he himself does not. I'm sure if you asked him, he would agree with you more than with me.