Analytical Book Review – Shake Hands with the Devil by Romeo Dallaire

Essay by katib_1980 October 2010

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Analytical Book Review - Shake Hands with the Devil by Romeo Dallaire


The book 'Shake Hands with the Devil' centres on the 1994, Rwandan genocide which shocked the world. The author, Romeo Dallaire, is the former head of the U.N. Peacekeeping Force that was deployed in Rwanda during the chaos. He tells us the story of the great evil where he and his men had to literally watch extremist Hutus systematically execute around 800,000 Tutsis. At the time Romeo Dallaire was a general, and tried to prevent the genocide from taking place. His warnings to the UN, three months prior to the killings, went ignored and his subsequent pleas for help to put things back into place went unheard. Once the Hutus targeted the Belgian Peacekeepers who served as guards to the President, his man power was once again cut down instead of being increased. He and his men watched helplessly as thousands of innocents were slaughtered.

In a way the book presents the chronology of the epic horror that swept Rwanda. It was after he learned that he was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that the writer began the book. One can gauge the enormous impact the massacre has on him through his state of mind. In an interview he said, "I actually think it's having relived that year in Rwanda and the four months of the genocide through writing the book. I mean, I actually had to relive it. You can't write it unless you relive it."( Not only the UN, but more or less most countries that were in a position to help, showed minimal interest in Rwanda at the time of the epidemic. The genocide could have indeed been prevented and once it began, it could have been controlled. In this essay we...