"The ultimate focus of the rest of my life is to eradicate the use of child soldiers and to eliminate even the thought of the use of children as instruments of war." —Roméo Dallaire
In conflicts around the world, there is an increasingly popular weapon system that requires negligible technology, is simple to sustain, has unlimited versatility and incredible capacity for both loyalty and barbarism. In fact, there is no more complete end-to-end weapon system in the inventory of war-machines. What are these cheap, renewable, plentiful, sophisticated and expendable weapons? Children.
Roméo Dallaire was first confronted with child soldiers in unnamed villages on the tops of the thousand hills of Rwanda during the genocide of 1994. The dilemma of the adult soldier who faced them is beautifully expressed in his book's title: when children are shooting at you, they are soldiers, but as soon as they are wounded or killed they are children once again.
Believing that not one of us should tolerate a child being used in this fashion, Dallaire has made it his mission to end the use of child soldiers. In this book, he provides an intellectually daring and enlightening introduction to the child soldier phenomenon, as well as inspiring and concrete solutions to eradicate it.
LGEN THE HON. ROMÉO DALLAIRE (Ret) served thirty-five years with the Canadian Armed Forces and now sits in 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, Grand Officer of the National Order of Québec in 2005, the Aegis Award for Genocide Prevention from the Aegis Trust (United Kingdom) and the United Nations Association in Canada's Pearson Peace Medal in 2005. 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.
A Globe and Mail Best Book
“A compelling, moving and insightful book that exposes the problem of child soldiers in all its dimensions. . . . The book is emblematic of Dallaire’s resolve, compassion and abiding commitment to justice. . . . Refreshingly sincere.”
— Samantha Nutt, The Globe and Mail (Best Book)
— Calgary Herald
“Discover for yourself the compassion that shines through in this book. . . . Heartbreaking and informative. . . . After all the horrors Dallaire has seen, his enthusiasm and optimism is a wonder. But it’s also infectious and refreshing.”
— The Gazette
“Painful but beautifully rendered.”
— The Vancouver Sun
“As a documentation of the changing face of modern global warfare it is a must-read.”