Saturday, April 7, 2007

A Reminder

Thirteen years ago, the Rwandan genocide was triggered. Hilzoy of Obsidian Wings remembers a hero - Mbaye Diagne - who, against UN orders but with the implicit approval of his commanding officer, saved hundreds of Tutsi before losing his own life in the conflict, one of the fourteen UN peacekeepers killed in that mission.

That commanding officer, Canadian L. Gen. Romeo Dalliare, relates this about Major Diagne:
Major Diagne attended nearly every meeting with me after the war started, taking detailed notes and then rewriting the minutes so they would be legible. One evening as he sat at his desk transcribing, he felt the sudden need for prayer and slid off his chair to his knees on his prayer carpet, his head toward Mecca, as required by his Islamic faith. At that exact moment, a huge piece of shrapnel smashed through his window from a mortar explosion, flying through the space he had just vacated, bouncing off the walls and landing still red-hot at his feet. He came within a hair's breadth of certain death. Always dignified and composed, Daigne reported the damage to his window and then returned to his desk to complete his tedious but essential transcribing.

No comments:

Post a Comment