Friday, October 28, 2005

No man is an island...

I've been reading Lt-Gen Romeo Dallaire's award-winning book, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda...and it is truly a gripping book. I read the first half of Dallaire's account of the lead up to April 7, 1994 with a sense of impending doom, but I was following it, enjoying it--if one can enjoy a blow-by-blow description of how the UN & the world were neither willing nor able to supply the UNAMIR mission with enough of anything. [He calculated that if his UNAMIR troops had been allowed to open fire to protect themselves or civilians, each armed personnel had enough ammunition to sustain a 3 minute firefight. They didn't have paper or pencils to run their operation, nor more than three days rations on hand at any time.]

Then reading it this morning, I almost burst into tears on the train to work. I was distressed. I wandered out into the windy, rainy morning, and stopped for a cup of coffee. I walked to work. I was briefly annoyed by the pushy people paid to hand out trashy free daily newspapers that litter the streets, transit, & coffee shops. I said, "sorry, no" to a guy asking for spare change.

Suddenly, my life was back to normal.

Oh, I understand about the why and the how of this mechanism we all have to protect ourselves from that which we can't question is: How does one maintain the care & concern needed to be an activist?


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