Top positive review
Harrowing but a necessary read
on 2 February 2018
I read this book following a trip to Rwanda, and having met some old friends there who both lost relatives in the genocide. I realised that I knew very little about it.
This is a harrowing but gripping read. To be honest, I began to wonder whether General Dallaire was as right all the time as he makes out, but I guess he was. The United Nations is presented for what it is: a bumbling collection of national self-interests, with some well-meaning personalities whose best intentions are thwarted by bureaucracy and by those national self-interests.Only Belgium and France were willing to take any responsibility, for motives of their own. Canada was willing but impotent. Britain did what it does best - guard its own interests and remain otherwise cynically uncommitted. The USA - well, suffice to say that Dallaire quotes one (unnamed) US diplomat as saying that, for the USA to be able to justify putting lives on the line to stop the carnage, there would have to be a ratio of at least 85,000 Rwandan deaths to one US military casualty. Nice. Rwanda has no natural resources that the major powers want to get their hands on. Of course, when it was all over each country wanted the world to know how its actions had stopped the genocide.
You would hope that the Rwanda experience would prevent such a tragedy happening again. Recent events in Myanmar, Congo, Syria, and so many other places in the world just show that nothing has been learned. Plus ca change.