Watching Shake Hands with the Devil certainly was an eye-opener. I was not aware of what happened in Rwanda before watching this movie, most likely because I was so young when this happened in the country. But I got very upset and sad when I realized what actually happened in the early 1990s; not only because of the war and the brutal Rwandan genocide in 1994, but because people around the world in other countries did not seem to care too much about it.
The Canadian general, Roméo Dallaire was sent by the UN to help out in the Rwanda; and he saved many lives. When Dallaire asked for more help, many countries, especially the US, chose to ignore the Rwandan genocide. I think that if they received the help they needed, and if they got more support from others, things that happened in the country wouldn’t have occurred.
From Roméo Dallaire’s perspective I believe he has seen many things no one should ever have to experience. Not only did he have to deal with the crisis in the country, but later try to process what he had been through as well as being criticized for not doing a good job and even being blamed for some soldiers’ death. Though there is nothing Dallaire could have done different, he did his best and tried to always make the best decisions.
I believe that Dallaire felt betrayed because no one was there to help him and his soldiers out. The Rwandan people also felt betrayed as everyone saw what was coming but they were ignored by most countries around. In the movie Shake Hands with the Devil, a Rwandan woman talks about how the Italian, French, and the Belgium government sent their military to bring back their citizens instead of helping out in the country. The woman says in the movie how: ”They left people to die. They knew they were going to die”. Rwandans felt betrayed as they were left to die and nobody seemed to care.
Looking at the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that we discussed in our QU301 class on Wednesday, Rwanda used to be far away from following any of the requirements. I think that bad things happen everywhere, but the fact that some things are ignored, that could possibly have been prevented if more effort was put into it; is even worse.
But on the other hand, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also mean that troops and the people in the military are safe as well, and obviously countries cannot put their citizens at risk in such a dangerous country. Therefore I think there must be a limit to that too. The United Nation is there to help countries, and act according to their articles, and also try to prevent bad things from happening. But if that means putting their own people in extreme danger, like this time in Rwanda; it is not fair to let people from other countries take care of another country’s civil war.
In class we also talked about how we should reflect on things we read, watch, and experience. We talked about how people are affected by certain things, how people behave when certain things happen, as well as how we see things. I believe that this example in Rwanda clearly shows how we all have different perspectives and different priorities. If Dallaire had stayed in Canada he could have, just like everyone else, decided to ignore what was going on in Rwanda, but as he was down there, his priorities and perspective changed.