In this piercing memoir, Roméo Dallaire, retired general and former senator, the author of the bestsellers Shake Hands with the Devil and They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children, and one of the world's leading humanitarians, delves deep into his life since the Rwandan genocide.
At the heart of Waiting for First Light is a no-holds-barred self-portrait of a top political and military figure whose nights are invaded by despair, but who at first light faces the day with the renewed desire to make a difference in the world.
Roméo Dallaire, traumatized by witnessing genocide on an imponderable scale in Rwanda, reflects in these pages on the nature of PTSD and the impact of that deep wound on his life since 1994, and on how he motivates himself and others to humanitarian work despite his constant struggle. Though he had been a leader in peace and in war at all levels up to deputy commander of the Canadian Army, his PTSD led to his medical dismissal from the Canadian Forces in April 2000, a blow that almost killed him. But he crawled out of the hole he fell into after he had to take off the uniform, and he has been inspiring people to give their all to multiple missions ever since, from ending genocide to eradicating the use of child soldiers to revolutionizing officer training so that our soldiers can better deal with the muddy reality of modern conflict zones and to revolutionizing our thinking about the changing nature of conflict itself.
His new book is as compelling and original an account of suffering and endurance as Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking and William Styron's Darkness Visible.
About the Author:
LGEN (Ret'd) ROMÉO DALLAIRE served thirty-five years with the Canadian Armed Forces and recently stepped down from the Canadian Senate. His Governor General's Literary Award-winning book, Shake Hands with the Devil, exposed the failures of the international community to stop the worst genocide in the twentieth century. It has been turned into an Emmy Award-winning documentary as well as a feature film; it has also been entered into evidence in war crimes tribunals trying the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide. Dallaire has received numerous honours and awards, including Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002 and the United Nations Association in Canada's Pearson Peace Medal in 2005. His second book, They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children, was also a national bestseller. As a champion of human rights, his activities include work on genocide prevention, the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and the Child Soldier Initiative, which seeks to develop a conceptual base for the elimination of the use of child soldiers.
JESSICA DEE HUMPHREYS is Roméo Dallaire's reseach co-ordinator and co-author of Child Soldier: How Boys and Girls Are Used in War and They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children.