Stewart Prest: Don’t let the Central African Republic become another Rwanda

National Post | Full Comment

Twenty years ago, the world threw one of its biennial Olympic parties. Even before the 1994 Winter Games began, Americans and Canadians alike were absorbed by the spectacle of the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan saga. Short months afterward, the events surrounding the O.J. Simpson trial transfixed the continent.

While we were watching all of this, Canadian General Roméo Dallaire, in charge of military forces under United Nations command in Rwanda, was getting worried. His increasingly pointed words regarding the deteriorating situation fell on deaf ears, however. Then in April, a plane crashed, and a president died. The genocide was on.

Our attention remained focused elsewhere. By the time that white Ford Bronco was rolling down I-405 in mid-June, more than half a million had likely died, well on the way to the total of 800,000 who perished in Rwanda in the space of 100 days. When the world outside finally did…

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