A price only a true hero can pay
Written by: Janice Ponds, MA, LADC
There are some events in history that leave an indelible impression upon one’s mind, that simply at the mention of the event, the stirring of emotions could be the immediate response. Examples of such events could be Jesus and the Crucifixion; slavery and the Civil War; President Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears; Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust; the KKK and lynchings; Timothy McVeigh and the OKC Bombing; and Osama Bin Laden and 9/11. Another event that potentially elicits deep emotional stirring is Rwanda and genocide.
Webster defines genocide as the deliberate and systematic destruction in whole or in part of an ethnic, racial, caste, religious or national group. To actually witness civilized nations such as the United States of America sit back and willfully do nothing to prevent the murder of 800,000 human beings in 100 days could be viewed as unconscionable. In the midst of an unimaginable atrocity, it is amazing that outstanding persons such as Lieutenant General Honorable Romeo Dallaire would arise and speak to the core of impacting and making changes in what seemed like a hopeless situation.
Dr. Ruwan M Jayatunge has contributed a special article, “Shake Hands with an Angel – Meeting With Lt. Gen Romeo Dallaire,” about Dallaire who became a living epistle; a letter read of all men. What were people given to read and glean? They would see a man who was falling apart inwardly; yet fought to regain his sanity. Additionally, they would observe a man who was full of courage and genuine devotion to fight for those who were deprived of basic human rights.
Reflecting upon General Dallaire making this statement provokes much thought: “The devil took control of paradise on earth and fed on the blood of the people we were supposed to protect…I know there is a God, because in Rwanda I shook hands with the devil.” What good could possibly come out of such devastation?
There is a scripture that is connected with how Joseph was enslaved in prison after being left for dead in a pit by his own brothers. Making a long story short; Joseph was sold into slavery and eventually went from the pit to the palace- becoming the second in command in Egypt. Genesis 50:20 states: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Joseph was referring to his brother’s plan to destroy him, but God elevated him in the midst of tragedy. General Dallaire going on to fight to eradicate the use of child soldiers speaks to this. Being involved in connecting children with rehabilitation programs speaks volumes for lifelong changes to those who were exposed to deep degradation, humiliation, and shame. Getting those harmed by the Rwanda event in General Dallaire’s foundation to receive help, and having a person to no longer live in Congo, but in Toronto is at least a start. Those rehabilitated successfully could go on to be a lieutenant general to impact their world for good.
How many descendants of slavery and the Trail of Tears rose from the ashes of what seemed to be hopeless to become world changers for good? Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. Ben Carson, Elias Boudinot, Wilma Mankiller, Will Rogers come to mind, and the list goes on. We never know the degree of greatness that lies within those whose lives we may touch.
Click here to read Dr. Jayatunge’s moving and inspirational article.