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I Met Romeo Dallaire Today

post #1 of 3
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This evening, I met General Romeo Dallaire.

I felt as if I was going to burst at the seams. He had been through so much during the war in Rwanda and had seen so much horror and yet ... he has turned his experiences into a great thing. He spoke about child soldiers, and how it is so difficult to turn them back from their brainwashing. My God. They are so brainwashed. I was in tears by the end of his lecture. At the end I went down to meet him. I had so many words to say to him but when I got there all I could say was "You are a true inspiration," and he shook my hand and said thank you. And when I walked away I was so choked up I couldn't speak until I got home.

I'm just so glad I went. One girl had come all the way from Montreal to see him. She got up after the lecture and read one of the most poignant letters. It was about her sister who had inspiration from Dallaire to become a teacher. One of the assignments was to make a short film about a humanitarian issue such as global warming, poverty, starvation, drugs. The teacher had over a hundred students, and as a result, over a hundred little films. "You may have shaken hands with the Devil, but it was Angels who were holding your hand." That was the ending of her letter and I watched Dallaire, and he was on the verge of tears. He was immensely touched. So was everyone else.

Dallaire also answered questions, mostly about how young people can help and how they are the next step to securing out world.

I want to go back and see him every time he comes. He is a truly inspiring person, and is one of many that I've always wanted to meet. He just seems so wise, and so passionate about what he does. He's seen so many terrible things that NO ONE should ever see. And yet he has turned his experiences in Rwanda to a great cause. I'm just so happy I met him, finally.

here's the Wiki article on him:

post #2 of 3
I had never heard of this gentleman before, but if he's spent time in Rwanda, he must have seen Hell itself. The perverted creation of "child soldiers" there and in other places, like Cambodia, is an abomination against nature... and inevitably, a self-perpetuating horror, unless the chain can be broken.

I completely understand why you were so moved. Thank you for sharing your experience with us... every little bit of awareness moves us closer to the day when this can be brought to an end.
post #3 of 3
I have seen him give a talk a couple of years ago and it was extremely touching. I was close to tears many times.

He is also an emeritus professor at Concordia University's history department where I was studying until recently, but I haven't seen him around. I think it would have been kind of odd to just walk into him in the hallway.
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