Romeo Dallaire Calls For Proactive Prevention

The Will to Intervene Project Advocates Action, Not Reaction

Photo Andrew Rusk

Senator and retired Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire gave a talk at Concordia’s J. A. De Sève Cinema on Nov. 2 about his view of the future of humanity.

Along with history professor Dr. Frank Chalk, Dallaire founded the Will the Intervene project in 2007 at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies.

The project promotes the UN Responsibility to Protect initiative which aims to prevent and halt mass atrocity crimes such as genocide,genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, by using force if necessary.

The W2I Project’s goal is to pressure the governments of Canada and the United States to enforce R2P.

“We are influencing countries like Canada in moving the doctrine of R2P [forward]—this concept where sovereignty is no longer an absolute, […] that we all have the responsibility, through the UN to intervene,” said Dallaire during his talk.

“We asked for the Prime Minister to issue a statement saying that preventing mass atrocity crimes is in the national interest of Canada,” said Kyle Matthews, Senior Deputy Director of the W2I Project at MIGS.

“No one in the government has taken it seriously.”

Dallaire went on to discuss his vision of the future of humanity within the framework of the W2I.

“If you feel that [humanity] is in a mode of survival, then you’re in the wrong camp to start with,” said Dallaire. “If the aim is to survive, you’re already in a very pejorative situation. You’re already cutting off a whole set of opportunities but also risks in influencing the future of humanity.”

“War must be perceived as an outright failure. There’s got to be another means of installing that serenity than outright conflict.”
—Senator Romeo Dallaire

Seeking poverty elimination, genocide prevention and accessible technology will enable peaceful existence—a process that can only be accomplished in the long-term, said Dallaire.

“I believe that every human being seeks serenity,” said Dallaire. “In so doing, we are moving towards a scenario that is not confrontational but looking for other means for bringing about the solutions to our frictions.

“War must be perceived as an outright failure. There’s got to be another means of installing that serenity than outright conflict.”

Dallaire has faith in what he calls “the activist generation without borders”—the current crop of activists that can communicate with anyone in the world via access to technology.

“In this era, the old tools don’t work,” stated Dallaire. “In the past 20 years, we have been reacting to the crises instead of anticipating them.”

For humanity to thrive, Dallaire said that non-governmental organisations should promote conflict prevention rather than crisis responses.

“If our politicians are weak, if they have no statesmanship, it’s only because we are not holding them accountable,” said Delaire.

He concluded his talk with his usual suggestion for youth to exert their political will.

“The youth of the nation holds the balance of power in this democracy. Don’t tell me you don’t have a voice—you’re just not using it.”