Book Review With Commentary
From assassination, through slaughter upon slaughter of both Hutus and Tutsis to a ghastly genocide, General Dallaire led the UN peacekeepers from crisis to crisis in attempting to save humanity from itself. From neither the UN nor the great powers did he receive anything like adequate support -- until the tide had turned. Then he was awash with too much too late, and it may have been in fact counter productive in prolonging the killing by propping up the losers long enough to kill for another month or so. If your goal is to understand peacekeeping in the modern world, this is an important book to read; so, also, if you are a military type interested in peace keeping or problem resolution.
In historical perspective, this ultimate tragedy was only one of several in the Great Lakes region of Africa. In psychological perspective, it is a revelation in how humanity can turn on itself in such devastating ways, ignoring the principles of society, even those of Nature itself.
His book title reflects his feelings when he had to cooperate with the genocidaires, however briefly. He felt he was compromising his basic being and betraying humankind.
Three features stand out in sharp relief:
- Part of humanity reverting to its jungle inheritance of predation.
- The rest of humanity ignored or even manipulated the protagonists to their own advantage.
- A small part of humanity did what they could to help, but were far too disorganized to be of the kind of help that was actually needed.
If this is not a first-magnitude failure of humanity we do not know what is. Well, a nuclear interchange would compare. One can only imagine how this would have worked out if even one of the protagonists possessed nuclear weaponry.
History now has a red flag waving, to employ fear motivation. Nevertheless, Dallaire ends his notable book with optimism that humanity can still find its way. We agree on that point. See Hope.
Possible self interest on the parts of the big powers is discussed by Chris Black on
Posted by RoadToPeace on Saturday, June 10, 2006.