Academic journal article Military Review

JOURNEY INTO DARKNESS: Genocide in Rwanda

Academic journal article Military Review

JOURNEY INTO DARKNESS: Genocide in Rwanda

Article excerpt

JOURNEY INTO DARKNESS: Genocide In Rwanda, Thomas Odom, Texas A&M University Press, College Station, 2005, 312 pages, $59.95.

Journey into Darkness is lieutenant Colonel Thomas Odom's personal account of the horror that resulted from the Rwandan genocide. The book provides unique insight into a multicultural and multinational environment and the associated high-level politics that surround intense events such as genocide.

Odom describes the amalgam of culture and politics that resulted in the genocide and that continue to impel killing and instability in the region. Odom's story is so vivid the reader can easily picture the events and feel the frustration resulting from the milieu of miscommunication, distance, culture, preconceived notions, and personal agendas. Despite these overwhelming odds, Odom is able to establish a working relationship with the U.S. community, nongovernmental entities, and the UN.

Although Odom's book centers around Rwanda, his account of the culture, the military, and the Goma refugee situation in Zaire provides an excellent background for the entire crisis. Odom's not being accepted as an official defense attaché (DAT) in Zaire, for example, immediately sets the tone for the book. When Colonel (later Brigadier General) Loleki, former Zairean defense attaché in Washington, departs the United States with a $50 thousand debt and 5 luxury cars, the U.S. Department of State refuses to grant a visa to his replacement until Zaire pays the debt.

Loleki later bribed his way to brigadier and to director of the foreign liaison, which put him in a position to retaliate-and he decided to not accept Odom as an accredited defense attaché. …

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