LGen the Honourable Roméo A. Dallaire, (Ret’d), Senator, introduces NGO PROOF’s “The Rescuers” exhibition.
Picturing Moral Courage:
There is no single prototype of a “rescuer.” These remarkable people transcend educational, religious, socio-economic, national and other boundaries.
Their actions – small and large – stand out on their own merits. They are even more incredible when considered among some of the worst violence humankind inflicts on itself.
The narrative of the “ordinary hero” might sound inaccessible for many. It is reasonable that humans could doubt their own courage in the face of great and grave danger. But discovering this impulse – our humanitarian impulse – is far from implausible.
Courage takes many shapes despite its unity in resistance. Indeed, one need not look far to find ordinary heroes who have risked their lives during ethnic, religious, and political violence, much of which has left a trail of mass atrocities against innocent civilians – the greatest stain on the conscience of humanity.
Whether the celebrated "Righteous Amongst the Nations" from the Holocaust or the lone stories of courage and heroism from Bosnia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Rwanda, and elsewhere, there are rescuers all around us – even within us.
Mass violence and genocide do not occur by accident. They are caused by human will, and they can be prevented by human will. And when we bear witness to those ultimate failures of humanity – failures to prevent the worst in our nature – ordinary heroes and rescuers are needed more than ever to maintain hope that, one day we will do better, that one day we will make “never again” mean to never again accept atrocities against innocent civilians for all of humanity.
LGen the Honourable
Roméo A. Dallaire, (Ret’d), Senator