In 100 days – between April 6 and July 16, 1994 – an estimated 800,000 men, women and children were brutally killed in the obscure African country of Rwanda. The victims many horrifically hacked to death with machetes – were Tutsi, and moderate Hutus who supported them.
One man was tasked by the United Nations with ensuring that peace was maintained in Rwanda – Canadian Lieutenant General Rom’o Dallaire. But unsupported by U.N. headquarters and its Security Council far away in New York, Dallaire and his handful of soldiers were incapable of stopping the genocide.
After ten years of mental torture, reliving the horrors daily and more than once attempting suicide, Rom’o Dallaire has poured out his soul in an extraordinary book. Shake Hands With The Devil is a cri de coeur. The General pulls no punches in his condemnation of top UN officials, expedient Belgian policy makers and senior members of the Clinton administration who chose to do nothing as Dallaire pleaded for reinforcements and revised rules of engagement.
Dallaire is convinced that, with a few thousand more troops and a mandate to act pre-emptively, he could have stopped the killings. His impotence, at a time of extreme crisis, preys on his conscience still.
The experienced Canadian documentary production company, White Pine Pictures, secured the documentary rights to General Dallaire’s book and exclusive access to follow him during his first return trip to Rwanda, in April 2004 – the 10th anniversary of the genocide. We were there as he revisited the killing fields that haunt him.
Shake Hands With The Devil is the most powerful documentary produced about the Rwandan genocide. Unflinching. Gut-wrenching. Challenging. Hard-hitting. This is appointment television for viewers throughout the world who care about human rights and international justice.