15 October 2007 | loco_73
How far we have to go...
I cannot in all honesty discuss this movie with any kind of reasonable and objective framework or point of reference. Though in all earnest I have found myself actively trying to avoid films such as "Shake Hands With The Devil", I cannot help it but be drawn by them even as in the end I pay a price for watching them. "Schindler's List", "Ararat", "The Killing Fields", "Sophie's Choice", "The Pianist" and "Hotel Rwanda" are examples of such movies, movies portraying the cruelty and inhumanity of man towards man. Every time I see such movies I feel drained, ashamed, impotent, angry, complicit, astonished and guilty at my own ignorance, selfishness and apathy. For make no mistake, in some ways we are all guilty, we all share in the blame for all these monstrous calamities that have occurred throughout history, genocide, mass killings, destructions of bodies, minds and souls, at which we stood present aiding their architects and allowing diabolical plans put in motion to proceed unhindered. Mankind's deafening silence and the extinguished voices of all those that perished are our most potent accusers.
Still with all these painful lessons, WE CONTINUE TO DO NOTHING... Years ago in what seems now another lifetime, I too was a refugee, lost to the world, one of those faceless, abandoned and shunned multitudes, millions upon millions of the world's orphans, for that is what refugees are... Yet what I experienced in all my trials and tribulations is but an ounce of what the people of Rwanda experienced back in 1994. Furthermore in my case I was fortunate, no beyond fortunate, I was lucky, truly so, that my outcome was a good one, and was able to find another home and build a new life
When I finished watching "Shake Hands With The Devil", all the painful memories of old came back, flooding my mind. Even so, it is my belief that movies such as these need to be made and these kinds of stories, no matter how painful and depressing, have to be continually told, and in that, a movie such as this is invaluable. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to at least learn something, get a glimpse of people, events and places they most likely will never encounter in their lifetime, tragic though they may all be.
I am very familiar with the story of General Romeo Dallaire, and I have the utmost respect and admiration for this brave, brutally honest and sincere man. Every time I have heard his interviews and speeches he has been jarring in his self-assessment and in the acknowledgment of his own failure, which knowing what we now know about the indifference and willful ignorance of the international community and the United Nations, I highly doubt.
Some have accused Dallaire of grandstanding, yet I see none of that, I see a guilt ridden man that has led a long and difficult struggle to find himself,to rediscover his purpose in life, a long journey from the darkness to the light. This is a man haunted by many demons and dark shadows,that he somehow must now accept and incorporate within his own soul and character. His life's mission is now very clear, to be the voice for all those that died in Rwanda, to bear witness to their tragedy and plight, to keep their memory and story alive, and be our own demon by never letting us forget what we could have and should have done. At the very least and if nothing else, Romeo Dallaire was there and tried his best, and for that nobody can fault him.
All the people involved in this project are to be commended for the job that they did in bringing this tragic episode to life once more. Roy Dupuis should be noted especially for his role, presence and his work in such a difficult movie.
So, go out, see this movie and reflect on what this dark chapter in human history means to you and perhaps look for something within yourself that you could change for the better, and if you can do that, then all of this would have been worth something and perhaps the future is not yet lost to us.