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Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda Paperback – December 21, 2004
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
Dallaire was Force Commander during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and, as such, is able to provide the first insiders view of the collapse of the Arusha Accord, the subsequent resumption of hostilities between the RPF and the RGF and the rapidly unfolding genocide.
General Dallaire spends much of his book discussing his attempts to implement the Arusha Accords and, when that failed, to secure a cease-fire and protect innocent civilians. He also chronicles his frustrations with some of the troops sent to assist in the peacekeeping mission and the trouble he had getting money, supplies or even an effective mandate from the UN.
Dallaire's coverage of some important issues such as the historic Hutu-Tutsi rivalry, the role of the Interhamwe in the genocide or the US role in preventing more forceful action are cursory but, in fairness, they were not intended to be the focus of this book.
Dallaire has done the world a great service by chronicling his experience nearly a decade after his life was upended, and 800,000 Rwandan lives were lost, in one of the most horrific humanitarian tragedies in history. And while this book is a great value to those who have a relatively deep understanding of the genocide, it might not be the best introduction for those who know little or nothing about it. Dallaire provides a great amount of detail, but not necessarily the elementary background and big picture views required to understand just who was involved and what was transpiring during this chaotic 100 days.
In the end, Dallaire is a hero, as are Brent Beardsley and so many others who risked their lives to save the lives of others.Read more ›
I see things a little differently. I see this book as a massive indictment of the United Nations culture of "go along gently", as a compelling documentary of how ignorant the United Nations is about impending disasters because of its persistent refusal to establish a UN intelligence secretariat as recommended by the Brahimi Report, and as a case study in how the Western nations have failed to establish coherent global strategies--and the intelligence-policy dialogues necessary to keep such strategies updated and relevant.
According to the author, 15 UN peacekeepers died--over 800,000 Rwandans died. The number 15 is not larger because Belgium, Canada, and the US explicitly stated that Rwanda was "irrelevant" in any sense of the word, and not worth the death of a single additional Western (mostly white) soldier.
Although there has been slight improvement in the UN since LtGen Patrick Cammaert, NL RM became the Military Advisor to the Secretary General (see General Cammaert and other views in ...Read more ›
But there is something truly disquieting beneathe all of the evils and dark strategems described by the General. His book is essentially a work of atonement - but it goes furthur. He contaminates us all with his atonement because almost all of us (myself especially) are guilty of the genocide. We did absolutely nothing while the political and economic alliances that seek to dominate our world handed the people of Rwanda over to unnatural horrors.
Those of us of rational age are guilty. We must all follow in General Dellaires on-going work of expiation.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I put off reading this book for quite a while, because I wasn't sure how much I would be able to cope with.
It is hard to read, but it is worth it. Read more
Great book. Incites the full spectrum of emotions, mostly those of sadness and frustration. Would recommend this for anyone... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Navid G
Difficult to read at times but for those of us who've done humanitarian work under difficult situations it resonates with truth and respect for the service and for the folks who... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Lindy Williamson
Heartbreaking, but absolutely necessary to understand the failures and dysfunction of the United Nations.Published 7 months ago by krama00l
Powerful. Thank you to Dallaire and Phillip Lancaster for telling this story.Published 8 months ago by Alexander Alotte
A book that makes you stop and think about humanity, good and evil, international cowardice and why we say "never again" but continue to see genocide and crimes against... Read morePublished 8 months ago by George Savarese
The definitive book on the Rwandan genocide by the man who was there. Passionate, objective and convincing in his description.Published 9 months ago by John W. Matthews