Roméo Dallaire · 562 pages
Rating: (9.1K votes)
“I know there is a God because in Rwanda I shook hands with the devil. I have seen him, I have smelled him and I have touched him. I know the devil exists and therefore I know there is a God.”
“Many signs point to the fact that the youth of the Third World will no longer tolerate living in circumstances that give them no hope for the future. From the young boys I met in the demobilization camps in Sierra Leone to the suicide bombers of Palestine and Chechnya, to the young terrorists who fly planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we can no longer afford to ignore them. We have to take concrete steps to remove the causes of their rage, or we have to be prepared to suffer the consequences.”
“If I decide to make a career in the army, he said, I would never be rich, but I would live one of the most satisfying lives there was to be had. Then
he warned me that satisfaction would come at a great cost to me and any family I might have. I should never expected to be thanked; a soldier, if he was going to be content, had to understand that no civilian, no government,
sometimes not even the army itself, would recognize the true nature of the scarifies he made.”
“I have often been criticized for being an 'emotional' leader, for not being macho enough, but even during this early stage in my career, I believed that the magic of command lies in openness, in being both sympathetic to the troops and at the same time being apart, in always projecting supreme confidence in my own ability and in theirs to accomplish whatever task is set for us.”
“The global village is deteriorating at a rapid pace, and in the children of the world the result is rage. It is the rage I saw in the eyes of the teenage Interahamwe militiamen in Rwanda, it is the rage I sensed in the hearts of the children of Sierra Leone, it is the rage I felt in crowds of ordinary civilians in Rwanda, and it is the rage that resulted in September 11. Human beings who have no rights, no security, no future, no hope and no means to survive are a desperate group who will do desperate things to take what they believe they need and deserve.”
“I was on the ground, I was in command, I had been given the mission, and I took the decision.”
“Still, at its heart the Rwandan story is the story of the failure of humanity to heed a call for help from an endangered people.
The international community, of which the UN is only a symbol, failed to move beyond self-interest for the sake of Rwanda. While most nations agreed that something should be done they all had an excuses why they should not be the ones to do it. As a result, the UN was denied the political will and material mean to prevent the tragedy.”
“Still, I did not regret for a moment leaving the bright lights of Manhattan behind in favour of night skies so dark the stars seemed close enough to be street lights. In the recycled cabin air of the long flight back, I physically longed for Rwanda, its rich red earth, the smell of its wood fires and its vibrant humanity.”
“The people of Rwanda were not an insignificant black mass living in abject poverty in a place of no consequence. They were individuals like myself, like my family, with every right and expectation of any human who is a member of our tortured race. I was determined to persevere.”
“Gabriel shuffled around the trunk again, searching for faux arrows—arrows designed to injure but not kill. “All these arrows are sharp—and have blood on them.”
“Yes, well, I left my cotton candy arrows at home next to my teddy bear.”
“Most of them... most of us never figure it out. Bad dream, they think, or good one. Funny rash, never really goes away, but Doc says it's fine, nothing to worry about. Why dwell on it? But some people, they just can't let it go... Some people drink themselves out of school trying to find it again, trolling through bars where the shadows are so greasy they leave trails on the walls, just to find a way in, a way through. Some people forget too that you're supposed to stop sleeping, you're supposed to have a life in the sun.”
“Desperate times call for desperate measures" is an aphorism which here means "sometimes you need to change your facial expression in order to create a workable disguise." The quoting of an aphorism, such as "It takes a village to raise a child," "No news is good news," and "Love conquers all," rarely indicates that something helpful is about to happen, which is why we provide our volunteers with a disguise kit in addition to helpful phrases of advice.”
“You're going to have things to repent, boy,' Mr. John had told Nick. 'That's one of the best things there is. You can always decide whether to repent them or not. But the thing is to have them.”
“Humans were peculiar. They were by turns squeamish and appallingly violent.”
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