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Shake Hands With The Devil

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  • Shake Hands With The Devil

    This is a first-hand account of the Rwandan genocide in 1994, written by Canadian Lt-Gen. Romeo Dallaire, who was the UN force commander during the worst of the murdering. It is a very emotional and personal account, and gives very rare insights into the inner workings of the UN. I found it to be an extremely eye-opening book, especially regarding the extreme difficulties when it comes to nation-building, and the harsh realities of UN-peacekeeping.

    As armchair politicians, we on these forums debate and critise ad nauseum the geo-political strategies that our nations undertake, and we often think that we have solid grasp on such realities. This book is a major reality check.

    While it is generally an historical account, it is a must read for any who take even a passing interest in modern politics or who are curious about the realities of geo-politics. It is, in the end, a story about the failures of the international community. The blood of 3-5 million dead Rwandans is on the hands of almost every single nation in the world. Yes, even those nations that today, continually spout rhetoric about 'liberation', 'freedom', and 'humanitarianism'. While some lessons have been learned from the Rwandan tragedy, unfourtunately not enough has been learned, and it is happening all over again in the Sudan, as we speak.

    Despite Gen Dallaire having been the UN force commander in Rwanda, he is highly critical of the UN. This is not a pro-UN book, nor however is this a damning condemnation of the organisation as a whole. It is about the realities of peacekeeping and nation-building, and is every bit as relevant to today's geo-political reality as it was ten years ago.

    This is one of the best books I've read in many years, and would highly recommend it to all.

  • #2

    Thanks for passing on the info about this book. I watched Hotel Rawanda last week and this book will be a good follow up to that.

    It is about the realities of peacekeeping...
    I hva elaways felt that the reason the UN fails at many of these endeavors is that they forget that you have to have peace first inorder to keep it. If nit, then you have to make peace and in many cases that means either negotiating a settlement or help one side to win. You may even have to go in with the UN force and thump on one side ot both. The UN is unwilling and probably uncapable to do so.

    Refighting World War II - One hex at a time!


    • #3
      Consider watching the DVD Shake Hands with the Devil as well. It covers Dallaire's trip back to Rwanda ten years later and is a good companion piece. I suggest the DVD version rather than the TV (Passionate Eye) version because it is about 40 minutes longer.
      AHIKS - Play by (E)mail board wargaming since 1965.
      The Blitz - Play by Email computer wargaming.


      • #4
        I read this book abou one year ago,...the General pulls no punches in pointing the fingers at the nations who could have done more to prevent the genocide. Very refreshing in the age of 'plausible deniabilty'.
        The Purist

        Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.


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