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Romeo Dallaire Says Post Traumatic Stress has Seared Events into his Brain

Discussion in 'News, Politics & Debates' started by becvan, Oct 4, 2007.

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  1. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

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    Romeo Dallaire says post traumatic stress has seared events into his brain

    1 day ago

    MONTREAL - A defence lawyer at a landmark Canadian trial stemming from the Rwandan genocide questioned Romeo Dallaire's memory Wednesday, suggesting the trauma of the bloodbath might make it tough for the former general to remember details.

    Dallaire, the former head of the doomed United Nations peacekeeping mission in Rwanda, has testifed for two days at the war crimes trial of Desire Munyaneza.

    Defence lawyer Laurence Cohen asked Dallaire if the trauma of his time trying to keep peace amid the massacre of some 800,000 Rwandans might affect his memory.

    "On the contrary," Dallaire said in the witness box at Quebec Superior Court.

    "Post-traumatic stess disorder hard-wires events in your brain to the extent they will come back in digitally clear detail to your brain.

    "You don't actually remember them. You relive them."

    Dallaire was discharged from the military for PTSD a few years after the 1994 mission, where his force tried in vain to stop the killing of between 800,000 and one million Rwandans.

    He attempted suicide several times before learning to cope thanks to medication and therapy.

    Munyaneza, a former Toronto resident, is accused of leading a rampage of rape and murder in the Butare region of Rwanda in 1994. He is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

    Under defence questioning, Dallaire admitted he was a neophyte at international field command when he took on the UN mission in 1993, despite more than 30 years in the army.

    He also said Rwanda's Hutu-led government questioned the impartiality of his UN mission, saying he was sympathetic to the Tutsi minority and its rebel army.

    In April 1994, some seven months after Dallaire's mission began, Hutu-backed militias led the massacre of Tutsis and Hutu moderates.

    Dallaire recalled how people perpetrating massacres, mainly by machete, seemed detached from the slaughter.

    "It became completely depersonalized," he said. "It was like cutting fruit for them."

    Dallaire also described how most developed nations refused to contribute troops to the mission from the outset and when the massacres began.

    Western countries that did contribute significant numbers tended to be former colonial masters in Africa that were there for their own interests.

    Several hundred Belgian troops left shortly after the massacres began when 10 of their soldiers were killed.

    Later, the French sent troops who mainly seemed concerned with allowing Hutu and militia leaders to escape advancing Tutsi rebels, Dallaire said.
     
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  3. Sapper

    Sapper Active Member

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    LtGen Dallaire is a great man .. I didn't realize that trial was going on now. Thanks for sharing.
     
  4. kers

    kers I'm a VIP

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    The American press has mentioned nothing of the trial, though I'm not surprised. I thought Dallaire's bok was tremendous. He is a good person. That simple sentence does not express it, though. People who tried to save Jews during the Holocaust are called "righteous among the nations," and I think that describes dallaire quite well.
     
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