Waiting for First Light

Roméo Dallaire's memoir is about his struggle with PTSD as a witness of the Rwandan genocide.

Roméo Dallaire, with Jessica Dee Humphreys

In this piercing memoir, retired general and former senator Roméo Dallaire delves deep into his life since the Rwandan genocide.

Dallaire, traumatized by witnessing the Rwandan genocide, reflects in these pages on the nature of PTSD, the impact of that deep wound on his life since 1994 and on how he motivates himself and others to humanitarian work despite his constant struggle. Though he had been a leader in peace and in war at all levels up to deputy commander of the Canadian Army, his PTSD led to his medical dismissal from the Canadian Forces in April 2000, a blow that almost killed him. But he crawled out of the hole he fell into after he had to take off the uniform, and he has been inspiring people to give their all to multiple missions ever since. (From Random House Canada)

From the book

A pain shot through my arm, from the shoulder right down to my fingertips, waking me. I struggled upright, and squinted through the darkness, seeking the source. A sniper's bullet? A grenade? Years of artillery training and months of war had made me immune to the sound of explosions, so it was entirely possible that I'd missed it.

Confused, I tried to attune my senses to the unfamiliar darkness and the curious silence. I was clearly indoors, but this was not my office at the Amahoro Stadium in Kigali. Since the war began, I had slept at my desk, with lights blazing, ready to take immediate action. Three, four hours, tops. The sounds of the deep night — animals rustling, babies crying, the fax whirring machine, the crackle of the walkie-talkie anticipating a call for help from a vulnerable field post, distant (and often not so distant) firefights — these had been the faithful companions of my sleep.

From Waiting for First Light by Roméo Dallaire ©2016. Published by Random House Canada.

Interviews with Roméo Dallaire

Lt.-Gen. Romeo Dallaire pens new book describing his 'Ongoing Battle With PTSD'

7 years ago
Duration 12:14
Canadian General Romeo Dallaire was in Rwanda in 1994 as part of a UN Peacekeeping mission. What he witnessed haunts him to this very day. Now he's written a book about his post traumatic stress disorder and the impact its had on his life.
Romeo Dallaire not only saw the horrors of the genocide in Rwanda up close. He - a Canadian general there representing the UN - could do nothing to stop it. That was 22 years ago. And he is still mentally wounded. He tells that story in his new memoir.