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Somalia. March 4, 1993. Two Somalis are shot in the back by Canadian peacekeepers, one fatally.
Barely two weeks later, sixteen-year-old Shidane Abukar Arone is tortured to death. Dozens of Canadian soldiers look on or know of the torture.
The first reports of what became known in Canada as the Somalia Affair challenged national claims to a special expertise in peacekeeping and to a society free of racism. Today, however, despite a national inquiry into the deployment of troops to Somalia, what most Canadians are likely to associate with peacekeeping is the nation's glorious role as peacekeeper to the world. Moments of peacekeeping violence are attributed to a few bad apples, bad generals, and a rogue regiment.
In Dark Threats and White Knights, Sherene H. Razack explores the racism implicit in the Somalia Affair and what it has to do with modern peacekeeping. Examining the records of military trials and the public inquiry, Razack weaves together two threads: that of the violence itself and what would drive men to commit such atrocities, and secondly, the ways in which peacekeeping violence is largely forgiven and ultimately forgotten. Race disappears from public memory and what is installed in its place is a story about an innocent, morally superior middle-power nation obliged to discipline and sort out barbaric third world nations. Modern peacekeeping, Razack concludes, maintains a colour line between a family of white nations constructed as civilized and a third world constructed as a dark threat, a world in which violence is not only condoned but seen as necessary.
|'The White Man's Burden,' Rudyard Kipling||xi|
|Introduction: 'Savage Wars of Peace'||3|
|1||Those Who 'Witness the Evil': Peacekeeping as Trauma||15|
|I.||Those Who 'Witness the Evil'||18|
|II.||On Being the Hero's Friend: Canadian Investments in Peacekeeping||32|
|III.||Sending in the Warriors: 'The Spread of Non-Democratic Regimes and Human Rights Abuses'||39|
|2||Men from the 'Clean Snows of Petawawa'||51|
|I.||Masculinities That Make the White Nation||57|
|3||'Outwhiting the White Guys?' Men of Colour and the Murder of Shidane Abukar Arone||87|
|I.||'A Significant Opposition of Values'||91|
|II.||The Bully and the Weak Soldier||101|
|4||Bad Apples and a Nation Wronged: Public Truth and the Somalia Affair||116|
|I.||The Disappearance of Race||119|
|II.||Race as Culture||135|
|III.||Ill-Prepared and Rudderless Soldiers and a Nation Wronged||141|
|Conclusion: Acting Morally in the New World Order: Lessons from Peacekeeping||153|
|I.||The Role of Racism in the New World Order||155|
|II.||Superfluous Human Beings and Evil as Policy||158|