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Canada's Peacekeepers (Amazing Stories)


Canada's Peacekeepers (Amazing Stories)
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Protecting Human Rights Around the World

In an era of civil wars, ethnic cleansings, and genocides, Canada¹s peacekeepers work feverishly for the salvation of thousands. In the midst of massacres and chaos, turmoil and desperation, machetes and machine guns, heroes such as Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire and Major Brent Beardsley cross barbed wire, language barriers, and ethnic divides to enforce peace.

Prologue

"Confirmed. They're all dead except for one little girl. Over." The radio crackled with the poor reception, but the meaning was all too clear. At his desk in Rwanda's capital city of Kigali, Brigadier General Roméo A. Dallaire looked up at the calendar: November 24, 1993. Dallaire hung his head. What he had feared would happen was beginning.

"Any indication of who committed these acts? Over."

Out at the scene of the incident, Virunga Mountain in the northwest corner of Rwanda, Canadian peacekeeper Major Brent Beardsley swallowed hard to clear his voice before transmitting a reply. "There were five little girls and one boy. They couldn't have been any older than nine or ten. It's clear that they were all strangled. One of the little girls is still alive, but she's in very rough shape. I'm afraid we won't get any information out of her. Over"

Dallaire shook his head. It was the same thing they seemed to meet at every turn - the sense of a mysterious faction spreading hatred and destabilizing the peace process. "Is there any evidence there at all? Over."

Major Beardsley hesitated, the radio microphone in his hand. Turning his head, he surveyed the scene again.

"There is something, but it doesn't make any sense. We found a glove in the same colour pattern as what the rebel army is wearing, but that just doesn't fit the scenario. This doesn't look like the sort of attack the rebels mount. Over."

Neither Canadian believed the rebels would have strangled young children to death, for no apparent reason, out in the middle of nowhere. They may have been ruthless, but they were smart. They had nothing to gain from an attack like this. Besides, they weren¹t likely to have been sloppy enough to leave evidence behind.

Dallaire shook his head again before giving his final instructions. "Understood. All right, collect all the evidence you can. Maybe the little girl who survived will be able to tell us something. Over."

"Roger," Beardsley replied. "There is one other thing. I don't trust the translator we have here. I told him to ask the locals who they thought could have committed such a crime. But I think he was coaching them. Over."

"Coaching them to say what? Over."

"Coaching them to say the rebels did it. Over."

Both men knew that the government blamed everything on the rebels. Dallaire let out his breath in frustration.

"All right. Get off that mountain before it gets dark. Over."

"Roger. Out." Beardsley signed off. Looking at the row of dead children in front of him, he sighed deeply. Just weeks earlier, back in Canada, he had seen his third child born. Now here he was, thousands of kilometres away from Canada, mourning these children he had never known.

"This is going to be bad," he said to himself. "Very bad."

About the Author

Sheila Enslev Johnston is a proud military brat who has lived around the world with her military father, Jens Enslev. Generation after generation of the Enslev family has served as soldiers, both in Canada and in Denmark. Sheila continued this tradition by joining the Canadian Armed Forces in 1986. First classified as a communications officer, she transferred to the artillery when the Armed Forces opened up the combat arms to women, making her one of Canada's first female artillery officers.

Sheila left the army to continue her academic studies in military affairs, but has remained passionate in her support of the Canadian Armed Forces. She has worked as a defence analyst for the Conference of Defence Associations and provided geo-political and military research to Jane's Defence of Great Britain. She has published numerous academic papers within her field, but her most personal project to date was her children's book, A Father to Be Proud Of.

This brightly coloured picture book explains a father's absence to his young children as he prepares to leave on a United Nations tour. Being raised by a single father within the military culture, Sheila is deeply committed to all issues of quality of life and family support. She has served on various Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) boards of directors and sat for four years on the National Advisory Board for Military Families.

Sheila is married to Major Paul Johnston and has four children; Kelcei, Jens, McCauseland, and Samuel. She dreams of doing field work with the United Nations when her young family has grown older but for now, Sheila has been concentrating upon her writing career and trying to balance research with soccer practices.

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