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Romeo Dallaire as a Liberation Sociologist Essay

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Updated: Dec 5th, 2021

Introduction

Dallaire is well known for his efforts to stop the Rwandan genocide that took place in 1994 while he was working there between 1993 and 1994 as a force commander of the United Nations Peace keeping force for Rwanda (UNAMIR). He has been a liberator not only through his actions in the various responsibilities awarded to him but also through bringing out ideas that could help the current and future generations for example on issues relating Rwanda Genocide, how to avoid it and the effects of Post-Traumatic effects that befell him.

He has employed his gathered experience in the Rwandan Genocide to help improve the present and that the past has equipped him with what people think he is capable of doing such as being one of the members of the special advisory team on Darfur.

After the end of the civil war between the Tutsis and the Hutus of Rwanda, Arusha Accords were signed and it was required that they be signed to facilitate transition that would see the incorporation of the Tutsis representatives in the realms of power within the then existing Hutu government. The implementation of the Arusha Accords would be supervised by Dallaire.

Main Text

His actions in Rwanda during the Genocide are said to have led to the direct saving of 20,000 Tutsis and Hutus not withholding the times his team was outnumbered and outgunned during attempts to save Tutsis. In his efforts to reduce tension in the Rwandan case, he wanted to seize the DC-8 aircraft that landed in Kigali in January 1994 carrying weapons and ammunition. These weapons were meant for the Rwanda Armed Forces (RAF) which was the Hutu army. This seizer was not possible because there were claims that the weapons had been ordered before the Arusha Accord, although it was against the mandate of Dallaire. Another effort was the issuing of order for protection of the then new Rwandan prime minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana by the Belgium soldiers after the assassination of the then president of Rwanda Habyarimana on 6 April 1994 through the shooting of the plane he was aboard. He requested for reinforcement of 2000 soldiers and logistical support latter so that a boost of the number of troops to 4000 would win the war, a proposal that was opposed by the U.S.A because it had lost many soldiers leading to questioning of its policy on interventions.

After the withdrawal of the Belgium forced–a challenge to his task, he managed to ensure provision of “safe control” areas through consolidation of his Bangladeshi, Canadian contingence soldiers among other soldiers from other countries, in and around the capital Kigali. Thus he was able to provide safety for the endangered Tutsis at the specific places of hiding known to him.

Narration of his experience in Rwanda could teach a lesson for any nation that could make a similar mistake of appointing a man in such as his then capacity to spearhead peacekeeping mission without any political expertise and field experience. The failure of the United Nations in his efforts to deploy 5,500 troops due to factors like political issues is also mentioned in his book Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda-a lesson to political influence on actions that would otherwise saved life.

In his book Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, he notices that the failure of the a few “who sought to hang on to power” and were supposed to protect the people, contributed to the slaughtering of these very people for example by emphasizing or outlining their differences (Dallaire). This is the book where readers could encounter the writer’s emotional experiences by knowing or considering what he went through and faced during genocide, he lays blame not only to others; the humanitarians for their narrow definition of their independence to the extent of always hindered the aims they had outlined; lack of political will by Americans to help in the time of most need yet they had the resources, but also to himself. The book contains advice on preventing occurrence of Rwanda genocide. He exposes the effects Post-Traumatic stress and how it affected him even after moving out of Rwanda and what could be facing our soldiers today (Baillergeon, 2009).

He has continued to work in various capacities based on his past encounter with his profession such as working with international agencies focusing on issues even child labor, advising the Canadian government on matters relating to distribution of small arms, and children affected by war as a special advisor to the government, and sitting at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) as a Senior Fellow in 2006 among other duties.

He participated in researching on use of child soldiers and conflict resolution, lectured at Canadian Universities and calling of the re-opening of a Cegep-style military college in Saint-Jean where cadets would train first before moving to Kingston.

He has also served in the following positions:

  • Special advisor to the Chief of Defense Staff (1999);
  • Deputy Commander of Land Force Quebec Area (1994), Canadian Division Commander;
  • Assistant Deputy Minister of Human Resources Military (1998).

Today, Dallaire is helping nation like Sudan in Darfur which has faced wars amongst the people living or staying there. He was appointed as a member of the Canada special advisory team on Darfur (Government of Canada, 2005). His achievements may have contributed to the appointment of him as the Senator because of his potential. He remains committed to liberating communities against use of children as soldiers, probably inspired by the encounter of the Rwandan case.

Conclusion

His venture into writing based on his encounters in Rwanda may as well continue to help many know what happened there, the effects of genocide, how to prevent such a situation in other places, as well as helping communities to take caution of the underlying dangers of tribalism and emphasis of differences among people they lead. His work will still remain to generations as a source of reference for the encounter of the happenings during the Rwanda genocides in addition to earning him price of Governor General Literary prize.

In addition, liberalization of his work has taken other dimensions like inspiring the production of films.

References

Baillergeon Rick. 2005. Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda”. An analysis and excerpt. Infantry Magazine. Web.

Dallaire Roméo. About Shake Hands with the Devil. 2009. Web.

Geoffrey Hayes. 2005. Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda. Canadian Journal of History. Web.

Government of Canada. 2005. Sudan: Canada creates special advisory team and expands contribution to help resolve humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Romeo Dallaire as a Liberation Sociologist." December 5, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/romeo-dallaire-as-a-liberation-sociologist/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Romeo Dallaire as a Liberation Sociologist'. 5 December.

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