We Canadians are not necessarily that well-known in the United States and so that somebody actually picked up on the work we’re doing because it’s international but still that was quite the surprise and well this this city this town took quite a hit they in being able to come and see how it is you know nearly twenty years afterwards.
Is in itself a worthwhile experience you know sir with what you saw in Rwanda it obviously was gonna stay in your mind forever but I was thinking about it you let it spread you let it spread all the way to.
Your heart and it became a passion in in humanitarian efforts out of that was that something that just happened was that conscious I.
Mean from what you saw there did it did you just say I’m gonna I’m gonna try to make something of this something not necessarily good but something beneficial.
It came after an interview and I forget exactly what day but it was in about the first month of the of the genocide and.
It was an interview by an international press and question came to me they was from a journalist and he said why you staying he said nobody’s coming.
Nobody wants to to reinforce you the Calvary is not coming over the hill they’re slaughtering him and it’s keeping on going he says why stays that you would the few troops that you have and a spontaneous response came out from having already seen so much was that if I can save one London to be a witness.
Hold the world accountable for what has happened here then it’s worth whatever the cost of my troops and I who volunteered to stay and so that that was the impetus and that just stayed and so I.
Sort of feel this this drive to be a living witness and to when I can hold people accountable not only for what they didn’t.
Do then but what they’ve got to be doing now and use that as a catalyst for for the future one Rwandan.
That was your motivation that’s it yeah and and that was really interesting because when I look at your initiative now one child if you can say one child from being recruited in the military is that the same.
Passion in fact it it was the impetus because that came from well I’m I did research at Harvard and so on with it but really came from of the number of times I met up with child soldiers during that conflict at one occasion and I’ll be relating that later on where I came to a barrier and it was manned all by kids and it was late afternoon and they were tired but they’re quite excited.
And they’ve been drugged up a lot and I had to negotiate my way through this barrier and I opened the door of my vehicle and as I’m stepping out this 13 14 year old rammed an ak-47.
Right up my face like this and his finger was on the trigger and his eyes were that bacon he was sweating and he was nervous and all the kids are unaware yelling in in screaming and making all kinds of noises and what is what came through on that occasion was the fact that children are terribly unpredictable I mean if.
It’s an adult you’ll see what sort of mood they’re in but the kids you don’t.
Know what they’re gonna do and they themselves don’t really know what will be the impetus and so to this day the fact that he didn’t pull the trigger is something but the reason why he didn’t pull the trigger is he.
Saw the chocolate bar in my hand and so I said if I can stop a kid from killing somebody with a chocolate bar then I think I’ve got a mission he gave me the chocolate bar attack he jacoub.
Are and negotiated my way through it yeah but that was that.
Was there the sort of the catalyst I said you know I’m gonna work on on genocide prevention stuff but on child soldiers I said if I can I can halt one of these kids then subsequently I was in Sierra Leone in that.
War and and in Uganda on the corny thing and all that so I’ve been quite involved with it.
Since one final question what does receiving this award allow you to do for your initiative well I some of the funds are gonna help us to keep our activities going in the field and I’ve and I felt that the museum here should keep some of the funds too so I’ve worked something out that way and then the recognition here is going to go to the initiative so it’s based at.
At Dalhousie University and in Halifax.
Nova Scotia Canada and so bringing that to that institution gives us a position of leverage with those that we want to get engaged in providing us with more resources to do more and so it’s a very important demonstration to us that we can leverage to outreach to others and that’s why it’s.
Not a digestion tonight is one thing but what we will be able to do with this and I think.
That’s why you want to do these things is people can then use them for for achieving their missions and this is what I’m going to be doing.