Former Lt.-Gen. and senator Romeo Dallaire says Canada is in a position to lead when it comes to child soldiers like Omar Khadr.
The costs of war are borne by all, from those on the front lines to the spouses, families and communities who serve on the home front. As such, it is critical that we focus not only on the short-term investment that a mission requires, but the life-cycle costs and resources requisite for any mission.
It is now up to us to raise our voices and affirm the global community's intervention. The world needs to break the diplomatic gridlock and achieve relief for those under fire. At this point it's not about political gain or economics. It's about humanity.
In our data driven world, numbers are key in terms of conveying the size of a problem or the intensity that we should pay attention to it. However, many of the world's most intractable problems continue to defy any systemic approaches to be easily counted. This is particularly accurate when assessing the effects of war on children.
Some 31,000 women are currently pregnant inside the Islamic State. These children born out of conflict will form the future ranks of the group. School curriculum is being altered and reshaped to support extremism and strict adherence to the Islamic State's view of religion and philosophy. Children are desensitized to violence and trained for combat from an early age. This presents a complex, yet vitally important, challenge for any nations engaged with the Islamic State.
"The number one ingredient we need is political will."
In ironic fashion, Romeo Dallaire was reliving the events of Rwanda, only on a less costly human scale. Sent to the Senate to bring intellectual rigor and disciplined experience, he was increasingly abandoned by a government that delighted more in waging domestic war in political ridings than in enhancing Canada's human rights and diplomatic record on the world's stage. He called for resources; they didn't arrive. He sought meetings with political elites; they didn't transpire. And when he ultimately called the government to account for its abandonment of Canada's diplomatic expertise in the world, he was ultimately abandoned and isolated
For reasons which are amply documented and well-known, as a Senator Romeo Dallaire committed himself to the most serious of issues: prevention of genocide, Post-traumatic stress disorder (or PTSD), child soldiers, conflict resolution and investigation into crimes against humanity. He is, in other words, a champion of causes that are for most politicians quagmires to be circumnavigated. The departure of Romeo Dallaire means that there will be one less serious, hard-working and principled member in the Upper Chamber.
In the annals of human evil, Rwanda's genocide takes a special place. With a kill rate of about six people a minute for more than three months, it's likely one of the fastest mass slaughters of humans in history. Most were hacked to death by machete, partly because the perpetrators found it cheaper than using bullets.
Snapshots of Nelson Mandela continue to swell the collective, global memory as deeply personal tributes pour onto the web. In the Canadian psyche too, is the imprint of a giant. It happens to be another man who made news this month: Roméo Dallaire, the retired Lieutenant-General who witnessed genocide in Rwanda.