Face to Face with the Devil- Class 1 reflection

Some of the first assignments of the class were to read South Africa: History in an Hour, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and watch a documentary, Shake Hands with the Devil.

After reading or viewing these assignments I felt as though I had a much better perspective on some basic information to lead me into the course this semester. I have never been a true history lover, however I have become so intrigued by the history of these African countries. I look forward to more in depth opportunities to expand upon and learn more about the culture, history, and lifestyle of the people in Africa.

The documentary followed the journey of General Romeo Dallaire to Rwanda during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Romeo DallaireThe footage used contained disturbing images of body after body of victims of the genocide. While watching this footage I felt an immense amount of sorrow and pain not only for those lives lost but also those who experienced this first hand. The thought that all those bodies had once been a human fighting for his/her life, dreaming of his/her future of freedom, and then some cruel people took that all away from them in a matter of moments rips my heart apart.

I still feel so hopeless watching footage of such horrid events of the past and not being able to do anything about it.

I was watching this on screen- Dallaire had been there in person.

He spoke of the sounds, smells, and sight of these lives lost and how he was suffering from PTSD after returning home. He recalled being unable to sleep, and not being able to stand “the loudness of the silence.” His experience feels vaguely familiar to me, although nowhere near as serious.

Mississippi BurningLast year in my QU201 course we watched the movie, Mississipi Burning. The film, like Shake Hands with the Devil, was based on real events of violence that occurred. Mississippi Burning was not a documentary and did not contain real footage of the events, however some of the scenes were so perfectly created that I experienced such intense personal reactions. I can recall similar feelings that weighed so heavily on me that I became physically and emotionally exhausted.

The experience of viewing Shake Hands with the Devil has left me with the feeling of hopelessness which I intend to now use as inspiration to do more good for those who have suffered such traumatic events and to do what I can to prevent any further tragedies. I look forward to potentially providing a better future for the individuals we will visit on our trip to South Africa (4 months and counting!!).


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