April 8, 2024 Editor

Rwanda Dispatches May 18 to July 12, 2018

Attendees came from 18 different nations.

At 30 years on to this day, April 7, 2024, the Rwanda Genocide broke out, that saw more than 1 million Rwandans murdered. CBC did the interview you see below.

Roméo Dallaire led the UN’s peacekeeping mission when more than 800,000 Rwandans — most of them Tutsis and moderate Hutus — were slaughtered by the Rwandan military and Hutu militia. Thirty years after the genocide, Dallaire criticized world leaders for seemingly not learning from past atrocities and not going ‘beyond the talk’ to intervene. Dallaire, who was also a senator, said Canada has ‘lost that extraordinary position’ of an innovator and reliable actor when it comes to international diplomacy.

Dallaire also wrote of the devastating experience in: Shake Hands With the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda. Of it:

Serving in Rwanda in 1993, LGen. Roméo Dallaire and his small peacekeeping force found themselves abandoned by the UN in a vortex of civil war and genocide. With meagre resources to stem the killing, General Dallaire was witness to the murder of 800,000 Rwandans in a hundred days, and returned home broken, disillusioned and suicidal. Shake Hands With the Devil is his return to Rwanda: a searing book that is both an eyewitness account of the failure of humanity to stop the genocide, and the story of General Dallaire’s own struggle to find a measure of peace, reconciliation and hope.

Views: 2830

  1. Jeffrey Smith is the founding director of Vanguard Africa, a nonprofit organization dedicated to free and fair elections and democracy in sub-Saharan Africa.[]
  2. “Maybe”? In fact, it can and has been vigorously disputed in the case of historic Christianity. Please read on.[]
  3. In this essay, “Why I was wrong about Christianity: It took me a long time to realise my morals are not Greek or Roman, but thoroughly, and proudly, Christian,”, we read:

    By the time I came to read Edward Gibbon and the other great writers of the Enlightenment, I was more than ready to accept their interpretation of history: that the triumph of Christianity had ushered in an “age of superstition and credulity”, and that modernity was founded on the dusting down of long-forgotten classical values. . . “Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean,” Swinburne wrote, echoing the apocryphal lament of Julian the Apostate, the last pagan emperor of Rome. “The world has grown grey from thy breath.” Instinctively, I agreed.

    The longer I spent immersed in the study of classical antiquity, the more alien and unsettling I came to find it.

    . . . It was not just the extremes of callousness that I came to find shocking, but the lack of a sense that the poor or the weak might have any intrinsic value. As such, the founding conviction of the Enlightenment – that it owed nothing to the faith into which most of its greatest figures had been born – increasingly came to seem to me unsustainable.

    “We preach Christ crucified,” St Paul declared, “unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness.” He was right. Nothing could have run more counter to the most profoundly held assumptions of Paul’s contemporaries – Jews, or Greeks, or Romans. The notion that a god might have suffered torture and death on a cross was so shocking as to appear repulsive. Familiarity with the biblical narrative of the Crucifixion has dulled our sense of just how completely novel a deity Christ was. In the ancient world, it was the role of gods who laid claim to ruling the universe to uphold its order by inflicting punishment – not to suffer it themselves.[]

  4. Voltaire — as seen above –a principal myth-maker.[]
  5. Part of that “Truth” is the Story of Jesus’ resurrection: which J.R.R. Tolkien dubbed the eucatastrophe (a neologism by him) of the Story of the Incarnation, in turn the eucatastrophe of the Story of Humanity. He writes (quoting from the above-noted at greater length):

    In [a true fairy-story] when the sudden ‘turn’ [Tolkien calls this a ‘eucatastrophe’] comes we get a piercing glimpse of joy, and heart’s desire, that for a moment passes outside the frame, rends indeed the very web of story, and lets a gleam come through…  The Gospels contain a fairy-story, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy-stories.  They contain many marvels… and among the marvels is the greatest and most complete conceivable eucatastrophe.  But this story has entered history and the primary world; the desire and aspiration of sub-creation has been raised to the fulfillment of Creation.  The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man’s history.  The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation.  This story begins and ends in joy.  It has pre-eminently the ‘inner consistency of reality’.  There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many sceptical men have accepted as true on its own merits.  For the Art of it has the supremely convincing tone of Primary Art, that is, of Creation.  To reject it leads either to sadness or to wrath. (On Fairy-Stories,” The Tolkien Reader, Ballantine, 1966.)

    I reflect on the Resurrection here.[]

  6. WN: Readers may wish to view this superb reflection on wealth, gratitude, and generosity, an excerpt of which follows, with link to full text:

    Vulnerability, Shame, and Courage – The Path to Gratitude and Generosity

    Everyone knows that there are many ways a conversation about money can go wrong. That’s especially true when talking about faith and money.

    The most common way a conversation about money goes wrong is when people hear guilt and shame rather than grace and gratitude. Although shame is not a helpful emotion, like weeds in Spring, it usually emerges when talking about money, whether a person has significant wealth or a person has very little. More often than not, the consequence of shame is silence. This is why conversations about money are the most difficult of all conversations at home, in the workplace, and in faith communities.

    Conventional wisdom suggests that sex is the most intimate of all conversations. Research indicates that, in fact, money is the most intimate. Why? Because when we talk about money it makes us vulnerable. (Again, this is true whether one is wealthy, poor, or of modest income.) The vulnerability exposes our money stories that often raise painful family histories, mismanagement, fear, and even survival. Shame is the emotion that seeks to stop the conversation and shut down vulnerability… (https://inwardoutward.org/vulnerability-shame-and-courage-the-path-to-gratitude-and-generosity/, last accessed August 4, 2018.) []

  7. Transformational Ministries recently developed a significant Project Proposal for the next three years. Towards the end of our stay in Rwanda, Esther and I were asked by Bishop John to enter into an agreement for the next five years to help support this ministry from Canada. It was our privilege to agree.[]
  8. This is impossible to square with the initial note to this article, added December 13, 2022.[]
  9. David Cayley in Ivan Illich: An Intellectual Journey writes (p. 456):

    James Carse says that the past reveals “new beginnings” as a consequence of surprise. Surprise occurs when something appears from outside the frame in which we have posed a person, an object, or an event. . . When surprise is welcomed, and even, as with [Ivan] Illich, sought, the past is necessarily revealed in a new light–it opens to us in a new way.

    Jesus is of course ultimately that new Light; that new Way. Cayley explains that with Illich,

    Surprise is rather the structure of messianic experience. (p. 269)

    Illich ever welcomed surprise.[]

  10. Singer/poet Leonard Cohen says in Anthem “There is a crack, a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in”: in this context, The Light of the world![]
  11. From 2003 to date PFR has built eight Reconciliation Villages in Rwanda’s countryside and these villages are comprised of clusters of homes built for genocide offenders and victims. Members of these reconciliation villages have chosen to step beyond forgiveness and embrace reconciliation. They have committed to living together, working together, and caring for one another.

Over eight hundred and twenty houses were constructed in eight villages for both genocide survivors and offenders located in four districts; the exercises were not easy but PFR considers it a fair accomplishment that houses have been built and accommodate nearly 4000 affected families who live side by side.[]

  • The movie “Hotel Rwanda” which covers the same period, and is an engaging tale, sadly is fabrication when it comes to the role of the opportunistic then Hotel Manager of Mille Collines, whom some say was even a co-conspirator. What saved those at the hotel was the regular presence of Dallaire’s UN troops. The Manager and family moved to Holland later, and began from there raising unknown amounts of money for a non-existent orphanage in Kigali. This information is from several sources, one of which is the outstanding book Survivors by Gregory Moffatt (see p. 135). I’ll cite this book and say more about it below. Many have been subsequently honoured for heroic acts in the face of the genocide. No one ever even nominated the Hotel Manager as one such hero.[]
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    Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

    Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.