Does a UN worker need to be a hero? Well, one of the three UN workers from this book, the doctor, certainly is. How about the other two? Lots of idealism, but are they supposed to rise above idealism?
Let me first say that the parts written by Andrew Thomson, the doctor who exhumated corpses from the mass graves in Rwanda and Srebrenica, are really worth reading and make this book extremely valuable. They alone would have made the case for an excellent book. So why is this valuable material interspersed with the parts written by the other two characters? For the sake of honesty.
By looking at three angles of the same story it is possible to perceive the tale of the UN missions in the 90's in more realistic shades. These UN staff have exposed some of the known issues at the heart of the organization, such as corruption, ineffectiveness and outright negligence. This is all not new. However the authors deserve acknowledgement for having used their own experience as a vehicle to convey the message. So we see them lounging and drinking cocktails while local populations are barely recovering from genocide. Looking for the best houses to dwell in while in Port-au-Prince and Phnom Penh. Feeling rich amidst barren poverty. Sure, these are not their wars and why should they give up life, love and innocent pleasures such as pool parties? Well, this is exactly the point. Even if they started out as the purest idealistic humanitarian aid workers, they would soon be dragged into the failed UN reality of the 90's....Continua