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April 06, 2007


Not really much to say to him except that the world was richer for his presence, and poorer for his absence.

Agreed, and done.

you got this U.N. light blue body bag

Somehow I am not surprised that the UN has body bags in their own color. I hope they are sending plenty to Darfur.

Thanks Hilzoy. I’d never heard this story before you posted it, never heard of this guy. The Oskar Schindler of Rwanda…

Wow, his story is incredible. Maybe you can post about all the American heros currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan next?

I was kind of hoping that Andrew Olmsted of the U.S. Army and valued OBWI front-pager, and all-around nice guy, once he was stationed in Iraq, would post at Obsidian Wings about all of the American heros now serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, but apparently he would be disobeying orders, like Mbaye Diagne, if he if did so.

He might be writing some pieces for Denver's Rocky Mountain News. But I don't think he goes to Iraq until the middle of the summer.

Alternatively, Bril, you could do some research (embedded or not) on the heros in Iraq and Afghanistan and enthrall us with their stories inside these little comment boxes and thus add value to these threads.

As it is, you're infringing on DaveC.'s purview, which is to provide snarkalicious, but passionate counter-weight to Hilzoy's choice of subjects, and besides, he's funnier.

You remind me of the stuffy, bowler-hatted Brit whose luck it is to be assigned to the commuter train compartment with the young John, Paul, George, and Ringo in "A Hard Day's Night". He expresses his smug outrage at their smirky, Beatlely, Mocker point of view by reminding them that "I fought in the War" ...

....and Ringo replies "I'll bet you're sorry you won."

It's a shame when you defeat guys like Hitler and you come home and find out the girls are screaming for the guys with the suede boots and the hair in their eyes. Makes you wonder if you should have been on the side of the Blue Meanies, doesn't it lad?

Mr. Bril, I'd be fascinated to learn that there was an American as heroic as Mr. Mbaye: someone who defied orders to save hundreds of civilians in scores of actions, at the constant risk of his own life. Even leaving out the defiance of orders, I find it hard to imagine an American engaging in direct, high-risk confrontations with armed soldiers (while himself unarmed) scores or even hundreds of times. But if you have such an example to offer, by all means present it. Heroes of any nationality are always an inspiration.

I'd also like to note that Mr. Mbaye was Muslim. How's that for a slap in the face of all those Americans who like to dismiss Islam as a barbaric religion?

There's an extra "if" in my first paragraph, which I guess personifies my iffiness.

I really don't think bril's commen deserves any comment.

There are no doubt American soldiers who have been heroic, and some of them have been chronicled here. But please, let him get his digs in and then depart.

However, JT, it is still great to read your rejoinders.

john miller: I really don't think bril's comment deserves any comment.

I was thinking of responding with something like this:

Dear Bril, I sometimes hang out on blogs where the general political zeitgeist is not one I share. I get into a lot of arguments this way. So, when one of the front page posters on these blogs posts something that I can just agree with or appreciate without qualification or argument, I make a point of doing so. "That's a nice photograph." - "I agree, he was a hero." - "I'm so sorry you lost your pet." That kind of thing. I might do it anyway on blogs where I agreed with the front page poster more often - but I think fairly essential on blogs where I otherwise agree with nothing to be agreeable where I can. I'm sorry you haven't yet figured out this strategy for yourself, but I advise you to adopt it forthwith. Best wishes, Jesurgislac
but I prefer John Thullen's comment.

I tend to judge hilzoy based on what she does say, rather than on what she doesn't say, and am grateful when she has anything to say at all, even if I don't particularly agree with it, and even if I'm unsure as to its merits.

Bril as handicapper general...what freaky thing does the future have in store for us next?

Thank you for this, hilzoy. I am humbled by this man's caring and courage.

Bril as handicapper general...what freaky thing does the future have in store for us next?

Hopefully not Andrew as Handicapped General...

[Stay safe! I mean it!]

Once, years ago, while waiting in traffic for the light to change, I saw in the car ahead of me what seemed to be a man hitting a small child in the passenger seat. Repeatedly, raising his arm and swinging it down.

It was a long light, so I had time to wonder if I was seeing correctly, time to wonder what I should and could do about it, and time to think about what - if I was right - the guy could do to me, if I confronted him about it. I was nauseated, horrified, and terrified.

I got out of my car, went to his, tapped on his window, and said "What're you doing in there?"

It turned out he was playing - the child was fine, even laughing - so I could add intense mortification to all the other stuff churning my guts.

The point is, it took just about everything I had to get out of my car.

I plain cannot even imagine having the kind of courage Mbaye Diagne acted on, all day, every day, for days and weeks on end.

From Romeo Dallaire's account of the Rwandan genocide, Shake Hands With the Devil:

Major Diagne attended nearly every meeting with me after the war started, taking detailed notes and then rewriting the minutes so they would be legible. One evening as he sat at his desk transcribing, he felt the sudden need for prayer and slid off his chair to his knees on his prayer carpet, his head toward Mecca, as required by his Islamic faith. At that exact moment, a huge piece of shrapnel smashed through his window from a mortar explosion, flying through the space he had just vacated, bouncing off the walls and landing still red-hot at his feet. He came within a hair's breadth of certain death. Always dignified and composed, Daigne reported the damage to his window and then returned to his desk to complete his tedious but essential transcribing.
Regarding Bril's asinine remark, I've added him to the Obsidian Wings "I like pie" script so that I will no longer have to see excellent posts like this fouled with his peevish comments, and will instead enjoy his praise of pie. If anyone else needs the Greasemonkey script, I believe that it's available on Cleek's blog.

Done, gladly.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall find peace. Extra-blessed are those who step up to snatch life from the jaws of death - just because they know right from wrong and refuse to stand safely by.

I wish I'd known Mbaye Diagne. I'll do my best to honor his memory in my life. I know I could do better.

Thank you for this story.

What an incredible, and sad, story.

Why Mbaye initiaive didn't become a good example to other UN peacekeepers to save rwandans even though there wasn't a UN Willingness to be involved actively in stopping that worst genocide of the century?
For me ,this name is so famous,!

I linked. This man must not be forgotten - doing the right thing, despite the rules, shouldn't be so rare.

This was a great man. Reading and watching clips from this whole genocide bring tears to my eyes. Its very unfortunate that he lost his life and didnt live to realise the true HERO he is. May his soul rest in peace.

Tragically, Rwanda is best known for the horrific genocide that occurred in 1994. Nearly a million people, or about 10% of Rwanda's population, were killed. Females represent 70% of Rwanda's population since so many men had been killed. They are now making a living by selling their homemade peace baskets to provide food and shelter for their family. Art is a wonderful thing, especially when made with blood, sweat and tears.

The sale of these beautiful, handmade baskets plays an important role in Rwanda's evolution. These beautiful peace baskets are a great conversation piece for your home and at the same time you can help others help themselves.
See the peace baskets at link below.

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