15 APRIL 2009
|CAPTAIN MBAYE: A FORGOTTEN U.N. HERO IN RWANDA. WHY
IS HIS COMPENSATION NOT YET FULLY PAID?!
While several U.N. senior officials have a lot to be embarrassed about in Rwanda, there was one
courageous and creative hero who should be remembered better. By all counts,
Captain Mbaye of the
Senegalese battalion braved murderous barricades to do his duty. Unarmed
except with a winning
smile and easy approach, he secretly smuggled women and children in his jeep
and hid them in
basements before finding a safe way out. That noble follower of the true
Islamic faith risked his
life every day to defend Christian believers huddled in threatened churches.
The BBC correspondent
who was aware of this one man humanitarian expedition agreed to keep it quiet
at the time to help
save more civilians. Eventually, someone informed the murderers. One day
while driving his clearly
marked U.N. white jeep, Captain Mbaye Diagne was killed by a mortar. His
colleagues draped his
body with the U.N. flag, solemnly -- and helplessly -- walking through
the streets of Kigali.
unforum has raised the issue regularly since 2004. This year, fifteen
years later, those of us who remember that brave young Senegalese pay tribute to him, to his
dedication and to his true belief in human brotherhood. He gave the ultimate
price. But neither the
U.N. Secretariat nor his own government has compensated his family adequately.
While making all these
ceremonial declarations, it will be more befitting if one of those senior
officials made a special
effort to reach out to his family at their day of remembrance and their
time of need.
Otherwise, it would look as if some of those who had not prevented the massacres got promoted and the man who
tried to stop it got victimized three times: once by the killer, once by his own country, and once -- very sadly -- by
the U.N. Secretariat.