On the 8th, I went with my good buddy Phil to the Watermark Restaurant at Kits Beach to see Senator Roméo Dallaire (commander of the UN mission to Rwanda during the 1994 genocide) and Hon. Stephen Owen (MP for Vancouver Quadra) discuss Canada’s place in the world.
It was a very interesting discussion. Essentially, Sen. Dallaire believes that Canada can and should take a much stronger position in international affairs than it currently does. That is he believes, as a country, we are much less involved in helping other countries than we should be.
I’ll not bother trying to explain this, because I’d take about 10,000 words trying to explain what Dallaire and Owen said. However, I would encourage anyone to listen to Sen. Dallaire speak if you get the chance. He’s coming to UBC in March, and I may well go to that.
During the discussion, a cameraman/interviewer came and spoke with one of the organisers and arranged to hold a quick interview outside the restaurant immediately after the discussion. Sen. Dallaire seemed quite willing, despite having to be on a plane to Victoria at noon.
On Sunday I went to see a movie I had been anticipating for quite some time – Shake Hands With the Devil. It’s a documentary about Roméo Dallaire’s return to Rwanda ten years after the genocide that saw 800,000 people die in 100 days while he and his understaffed underfunded UN mission could do nothing to stop it.
His book by the same name came out just over a year ago and I bought it for my Mom (www.RosemaryAnderson.com) when it first came out, as a Christmas present. When he came to UBC in Vancouver to speak publicly, Mom and I bought tickets and went to listen/watch him at the Chan Centre. His talk was really amazing to both Mom and me. I didn’t end up finding the time to read his book after Mom had finished reading it, but it has received much praise and I would recommend it to anyone.
The movie was really amazing. It has screened at numerous film festivals around the world, and won several awards including Audience Award for a World Cinema Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival this year. No wonder. I highly highly recommend you watch it.
The book is available online at: Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda