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Dark Threats and White Knights

Dark Threats and White Knights: The Somalia Affair, Peacekeeping, and the New Imperialism

Sherene H. Razack
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 230
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  • Book Info
    Dark Threats and White Knights
    Book Description:

    InDark Threats and White Knights, Sherene H. Razack explores the racism implicit in the Somalia Affair and what it has to do with modern peacekeeping.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-5714-4
    Subjects: Sociology, History, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-1)
  5. INTRODUCTION: ‘Savage Wars of Peace’
    (pp. 3-14)

    The hands of Canada’s most well-known general clasp the hands of two Black children in war-ravaged Sierra Leone. Almost destroyed from his encounter with the ‘devil’ in Rwanda, General Roméo Dallaire, known for his efforts to stop the genocide in that country, has returned to Africa. He has come to work with children traumatized by war. They have something in common: each has seen great brutality and suffered trauma as a result. The general wants to come to terms with his past, not only with post-traumatic stress but with the ‘ghosts of Rwanda,’ the 800,000 people he felt he couldn’t...

  6. CHAPTER 1 Those Who ‘Witness the Evil’: Peacekeeping as Trauma
    (pp. 15-50)

    It is said that a Canadian speech-writer in the Bush administration coined the phrase ‘axis of evil,’ which has been so much a part of American political vocabulary since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.³ If this is true, it is fitting. For the better part of the 1990s, Canadian peacekeepers have described their activities in Somalia, Rwanda, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Croatia as encounters with ‘absolute evil.’ The American president and the Canadian peacekeeper quoted above both imagine the international as a space where civilized peoples from the North go to...

  7. CHAPTER 2 Men from the ‘Clean Snows of Petawawa’
    (pp. 51-86)

    A soldier writing in his diary just one month into the Canadian peacekeeping mission in Somalia noted the frustration of his fellow soldiers, their ‘racism and closed-mindedness,’ and wondered whether he would be able to prevent ‘what I know is wrong.’³ The killing of an unarmed Somali and the wounding of another on 4 March, the torture and murder of Shidane Arone on 16 March, child detainees inhumanely treated, and scores of incidents of the humiliation and violence of the local population all tell a story of a peacekeeping encounter overdetermined by race.

    The casual brutality that some peacekeepers brought...

  8. CHAPTER 3 ‘Outwhiting the White Guys?’ Men of Colour and the Murder of Shidane Abukar Arone
    (pp. 87-115)

    The photo shows a handsome, well-muscled, shirtless young soldier in a bunker, wearing sunglasses and apparently posing for the camera under the hot sun. Taken only hours before he allegedly tried to hang himself with his bootlaces, the photo freezes forever a seemingly relaxed young man at the height of his physical powers. A second photo, taken two days earlier, shows the same young man posing this time with the battered and bloodied body of a handcuffed and blindfolded Somali teenager. In a third photo, another young soldier appears beside the teenager’s battered body. Like the first, this second man...

  9. CHAPTER 4 Bad Apples and a Nation Wronged: Public Truth and the Somalia Affair
    (pp. 116-152)

    InSomalia Yellow, a play written by Blake Brooker about war artist Allan Harding MacKay’s experience of the Canadian peacekeeping mission in Somalia, the characters Denise and Clayton muse aloud along two parallel tracks about their memories of bad apples:

    DENISE: I thought I would not be affected by the events in Somalia.

    I ignored the news when it came out.

    I refused to believe it had anything to do with me.

    I thought it was the work of a few bad apples.

    CLAYTON: Halloween was a favourite time, eh.

    And apples was our favourite fruit.

    There was one crabapple...

  10. CONCLUSION: Acting Morally in the New World Order: Lessons from Peacekeeping
    (pp. 153-166)

    General Roméo Dallaire’s direct and compelling words, pronounced in an interview with Ted Koppel of the American Broadcasting Corporation on the occasion of the general’s appearance at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington in 2002, convey the depths of feeling into which we are plunged when we consider the question of acting morally in the New World Order. Ours is an age of genocides and mass murder. Traumatized by his inability to prevent the genocide in Rwanda, and made into a national icon representing our collective frailty and middle-power incapacity to act against the amorphous ‘evil’ that lives in the...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 167-206)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 207-226)
  13. Index
    (pp. 227-236)