Saturday, January 29, 2022

Genocide And Civil War

Tensions in Rwanda had persisted for years, resulting in the establishment of a peacekeeping mission in 1993. Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire commanded the mission for nearly a year, and during this time the civil war exploded into genocidal bloodshed. Dallaire and those under his command did what they could, but could only bear witness as the world didn't really understand what was happening until it was too late. 

Weapons used in the genocide speak for themselves.

Dallaire would be emotionally shattered by the experience. He writes of the Rwandan civil war in his harrowing book Shake Hands With The Devil, and it has stayed with him ever since.

Other civil wars: Yugoslavia. While the breakup of the former Warsaw Pact and the shift of those countries to a more stable system of government generally went well, such was not the case in the former Yugoslavia. A conglomerate of ethnic groups who hated each other and only kept in line by communist oppression, the country fell apart in the aftermath of the Cold War, and war broke out. Canadian forces would take part in the efforts to stop the bloodshed as the country broke down. Ethnic cleansing- a seemingly sterile term for genocide- became a used phrase.

Canadian Major General Lewis Mackenzie commanded forces at Sarajevo. 

This is his flak jacket.

The Yugoslav civil wars were a bloody mess, a nightmare that could only be resolved by force from the outside. Peacekeepers would find there was no peace to be kept.

Landmines were a huge threat to anyone in the shattered Yugoslavia, soldier or civilian, and in fact still are beneath the former battlefields, an ugly aftertaste of war that kills long after the conflict is over.

Below, a landmine at left. At right, an Izzy doll. These knit dolls are made for children in war torn countries. They are drawn from the experiences of Master Corporal Mark Isfeld, whose mother had made them. Isfeld was a Canadian soldier, an engineer on landmine removal work in Croatia when he was killed doing so in 1994. He is seen in the above photograph.


  1. It is dreadful how barbaric humans can be to each other.

  2. I wish there was no such thing as genocide.

  3. I am sure that Roméo Dallaire will be tormented by the genocide until the day he dies.

  4. Una guerra que tuvo una excesiva crueldad.

  5. Horrible. To pay so your child gets shot...
    Do those people killing ever think about that you cannot choose where you are born into and that they could belong to "them"?

    Great idea with the doll.

  6. Don't get me started on the former Yugoslavia. The UN and the international community have abandoned the Dutch battalion near Srebrenica. This left them powerless against Mladic's Serbian troops. What followed is well known. ;-(

  7. @Gemel: man's inhumanity towards man.

    @Amy: ideally, yes.

    @David: a good man, forever haunted.

    @Ventana: war is hell.

    @Iris: they were effectively whipped into such a frenzy that they couldn't see the other as such. This applies in both places.

    @Tom: very much so.

    @Jan: Mladic was evil.

  8. Human beings are very belligerent...

  9. @anvilcloud: indeed.

    @Magiceye: definitely.

    @Nancy: very much so.

    @Catarina: it's part of who we are.

    @RedPat: that is the case.

  10. Colonialism left many problems that ended up as ugly disagreements.

  11. Great display and photos ~ always war somewhere I guess

    Wishing you lots of love in your day,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  12. The words Ethnic cleansing just sounds evil.
    Take care, enjoy your weekend!

  13. Wars in the last years, seemed to me done to be able that Hollywood has again a subject to make movie ! When the war takes place everybody is against everybody watches all the horrors, everybody is scandalized, but nobody moves !And when it's over the movie industry makes it's business !

  14. Such a sad time in life, and the struggles they endured. Such important history that with hope we shall learn by. Enjoy your weekend.

  15. I sometimes think we are headed for a civil war here. But they had so many other challenges on top of what we have.

  16. @Red: true.

    @Carol: thanks.

    @Marie: me too.

    @Eileen: it is.

    @Sharon: I agree.

    @Bill: very much so.

    @Gattina: such is the way.

    @Karen: well said.

    @Jeanie: it seems that way.

  17. Wars and rumors of wars (Ukraine). May they forever cease.