More than 25 years ago, Roméo Dallaire, the Canadian major-general commanding the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, came rolling up to a stick in the road marking a checkpoint manned by a cadre of heavily armed, hyped-up kids.
Rwanda was embroiled in civil war; it was on the verge of a genocide. Yet it would be months before the contingent under Dallaire’s command would reach the 2,548 troops authorized by the UN and, even then, it wasn’t enough.
The general stepped out of his vehicle to find one of the child soldiers running toward him, AK-47 in hand. The next thing he knew, the barrel of the Soviet-made assault rifle was up his nostril. The kid looked about 13.
“His eyeballs were huge, he was sweating, all the kids all around screaming and yelling, and his hand’s on ...