Lieutenant-General The Honorable RomÃ©o Dallaire (Retired) served thirty-five years with the Canadian Armed Forces, and now sits in the Canadian Senate. He founded and leads the Child Soldiers Initiative in association with the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies at Dalhousie University. He has received numerous honors and awards, including induction as an Officer of the Order of Canada and as an Officer of the Legion of Merit of the United States, the highest military decoration available to foreigners. His book, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, won the Governor General's Literary Award in Canada, has been acclaimed around the world, and has been turned into an Emmy Award-winning documentary as well as a feature film.
They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiersby RomÃo Dallaire
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"It is my hope that through the pages of this remarkable book, you will discover groundbreaking thoughts on building partnerships and networks to enhance the global movement to end child soldiering; you will gain new and holistic insights on what constitutes a child soldier; you will learn more about girl soldiers, who have not been fully considered in the discussion of this issue; you will discover methods on how to influence national policies and the training of security forces; and you will find practical steps that will foster better coordination between security forces and humanitarian efforts."-Ishmael Beah
As the leader of the ill-fated United Nations peacekeeping force in Rwanda, Lieutenant-General RomÃ©o Dallaire came face-to-face with the horrifying reality of child soldiers during the genocide of 1994. Since then the incidence of child soldiers has proliferated in conflicts around the world: they are cheap, plentiful, expendable, with an incredible capacity, once drugged and brainwashed, for both loyalty and barbarism.
The dilemma of the adult soldier who faces them is poignantly expressed in this book's title: when children are shooting at you, they are soldiers, but as soon as they are wounded or killed, they are children once again. Believing that not one of us should tolerate a child being used in this fashion, Dallaire has made it his mission to end the use of child soldiers. Where Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone gave us wrenching testimony of the devastating experience of being a child soldier, Dallaire offers intellectually daring and enlightened approaches to the child soldier phenomenon, and insightful, empowering solutions to eradicate it.
- Bloomsbury USA
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L.Gen. the Hon. Roméo Dallaire (Ret'd), was the commander of the UN mission to Rwanda, there he experienced first-hand the horrors committed during the 1994 genocide. In his memoirs "Shakes Hands with the Devil", he highly criticised and exposed the failures of the international community. Mr. Dallaire is known to be a strong humanitarian, an advocate of human rights and has dedicated his life to the cause for which he has been recognized and has received numerous awards. In his second book, he reveals another important cause he is equally dedicated to: the fight to eradicate the use of child soldiers. From the opening pages it is evident that Mr. Dallaire is very affected and still haunted by the memories of the Rwanda genocide. He relates how the life of a child is drastically altered when he is abducted, brainwashed and forced to act as a combatant in a rebel army. Some as young as nine are taken captive, drugged and forced to witness and in some cases even slaughter their own parents. Escape is not an option, if they manage to survive all they would find is the charred remains of their past. Their fate in camps is contingent on their will to survive. They are deprived of food and sleep, rendering them totally dependent on their captors for survival while undergoing a crude form of guerrilla tactics before they are often sacrificed in combat. The fate of young girls is even worse, they are not only trained as soldiers they are often used as sex slaves and their chance of a respectable marriage becomes a dream of the past and unthinkable. In post war, these children are so psychologically damaged they are rarely able to achieve a place in society. Since 1994, the problem of child combatants has spread to many impoverish populations. The children are an easy target for recruiters in societies plagued with a high proportion of unemployment, little social order, high mortality and a rocketing HIV rate. Although "They Fight like Children, They Die like Children", is a troubling and touching account, I find, the narrative has less passion and drama then his first book. Most of the chapters are informative and interesting; there are a few in which the narrative changes. One of the chapters expresses the thoughts of one of these children in battle to the point of his demise by a U.N. soldier. The next chapter describes the thoughts of the Blue beret soldier facing this child. These two chapters appeared to be unsuccessfully dumbed down to attract a younger audience. The last chapter, a long and never ending cry to rally into action the younger readers in my opinion turned into an everlasting rant. The mix of styles created an awkward read. I may not have appreciated the presentation at its fullest; nevertheless, Mr. Dallaire's quest is most admirable. His point is well taken, all of us adult and young must shoulder the responsibility
To be honest, I skipped over some of the heavy text and jumped into the fictional chapters - it was amazing to get the insight of these children and of the peacekeepers they face. This book has so many amazing sections, and Dallaire is a true hero and an inspirational humanitarian. It's a MUST read for anyone with a global conscience, or who wants to develop one!