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Analytical Book Review – Shake Hands With The Devil By Romeo Dallaire

2555 words - 10 pages

Analytical Book Review - Shake Hands with the Devil by Romeo DallaireIntroductionThe book 'Shake Hands with the Devil' centres on the 1994, Rwandan genocide which shocked the world. The author, Romeo Dallaire, is the former head of the U.N. Peacekeeping Force that was deployed in Rwanda during the chaos. He tells us the story of the great evil where he and his men had to literally watch extremist Hutus systematically execute around 800,000 Tutsis. At the time Romeo Dallaire was a general, and tried to prevent the genocide from taking place. His warnings to the UN, three months prior to the killings, went ignored and his subsequent pleas for help to put things back into place went unheard. Once the Hutus targeted the Belgian Peacekeepers who served as guards to the President, his man power was once again cut down instead of being increased. He and his men watched helplessly as thousands of innocents were slaughtered. In a way the book presents the chronology of the epic horror that swept Rwanda. It was after he learned that he was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that the writer began the book. One can gauge the enormous impact the massacre has on him through his state of mind. In an interview he said, "I actually think it's having relived that year in Rwanda and the four months of the genocide through writing the book. I mean, I actually had to relive it. You can't write it unless you relive it."(www.cbc.ca). Not only the UN, but more or less most countries that were in a position to help, showed minimal interest in Rwanda at the time of the epidemic. The genocide could have indeed been prevented and once it began, it could have been controlled. In this essay we will first take a look at the events that revolved around the genocide from the beginning till the end. Then we will examine whether the international community had a role to play in the downfall of the Tutsis and if they could have prevented the widespread chaos and massacre that prevailed later on.Summary and Analysis"…the plight of seven to eight million black Africans in a tiny country that had no strategic or resource value to any world power. An overpopulated little country that turned in on itself and destroyed its own people, as the world watched and yet could not manage to find the political will to intervene. Engraved still in my brain is the judgment of a small group of bureaucrats who came to "assess" the situation in the first weeks of the genocide: "We will recommend to our governments not to intervene as the risks are high and all that is here are humans,"" recalls Romeo Dallaire in his powerful narrative Shake Hands with the Devil. His narrative proves that Rwanda was set on fire from the inside, while the world stood and watched it burn to the ground.On the whole Dallaire was not only shocked but appalled at the way things were turning out for Rwanda. He did not understand or rather could not fathom how human life could be treated so cheaply, as though...

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