Tuesday, May 13, 2003

How you become a Human Rights Warrior for Peace

You let 800,000 people die. Then you receive an award for "demonstrated altruism, resourcefulness and bravery in preserving the value of human life." This French-Canadian general was in charge of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Rwanda. His citation reads in part:

"General Romeo Dallaire did everything he could, pleading for 2000 more peacekeepers to be added to his insufficiently equipped 3000 man force. If they had answered Gen. Dallaire's pleas, the U.N. could have stopped the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans.  instead, following the deaths of 10 Belgian Peacekeepers assigned to protect the President, his forces were cut down from 3000 to a mere 500 men, who had to watch as one of the most horrible genocides in human history took place before their very eyes.  Gen. Romeo Dallaire, frustrated, and disheartened by the U.N.'s passive attitude, nonetheless stood for his beliefs, repeatedly confronting his superiors who did nothing to prevent the horrific events from unfolding."

Romeo Dallaire is now working on the problem of war-affected children, and  has visited countries where children are used as soldiers or are being sold into sexual slavery.

But what can 500 men not commanded by the UN do? We know the answer of the  300 Spartans, under King Leonidas, who held off a Persian force more than 50 times their number and saved the Western World.

"Go tell the Spartans, passer-by,
That here, obedient to their laws, we lie"