In the mid-'90s, Romeo Dallaire was a commander with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), a relief mission created to ease tensions between the Hutus and the Tutsis. But relief was not to come. Two political leaders were assassinated, a UNAMIR convoy was ambushed, and citizens were slaughtered. Dallaire's demand for more troops was met with resistance by the U.N. as it struggled over the proper use of the word "genocide." More than 800,000 died in a little over 100 days.
While cited for his bravery, Dallaire left the mission in despair, and he later attempted suicide. Dallaire is now a Canadian senator and author of a book about the conflict, Shake Hands With the Devil. He'll be in Memphis Thursday to speak about what happened in Rwanda as part of Facing History and Ourselves' Community Conversations series.
Romeo Dallaire talk, Facing History and Ourselves Community Conversations, Thursday,
September 14th, 7:30 p.m. at the University of Memphis Rose Theatre