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Pure Massacre – 25th Anniversary Ed

Aussie soldiers reflect on the Rwandan genocide

Authors: Kevin O'Halloran
(4 customer reviews)
15/Apr/2020
Kibeho massacre, Australian peacekeepers
308
Paperback
C Format
9781922265982
$29.99

** PRE ORDER NOW ** DUE FOR RELEASE APRIL 2020 **

“I met with the Interhamwe leaders and when I shook their hand, they were cold, not cold as in temperature, cold as if another body, although they had a human form their eyes were not human. Their eyes were reflecting the most evil I could ever imagine. It was being personified and that personification was the devil” Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire, Force Commander, United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda 1994

“The stories that O’Halloran and other members of UNAMIR II recall are heartfelt and frank in detail. It is truly amazing how these brave Australians handled themselves in such terrifying and stressful conditions as they faced the RPA blatantly killing women and children in front of their eyes. We will never forget the images that George Gittoes and Robyn Bird took to show the world that genocide did happen in Rwanda.” – Gordon Traill Iraq Veteran

April is the 25th Anniversary of the Kibeho Massacre.

Rwanda, a tiny land-locked central African nation is no stranger to violence. But nothing matched the orgy of killing that engulfed the country in 1994. As the world watched, a genocide not seen since the Hitler horrors of WWII, erupted. Estimates put the toll of those shot and hacked to death at around one million men, women and children.

It was into this cauldron of death that a group of Australian peacekeepers, were sent to help alleviate the suffering and bring some order back into shattered lives. For this group of soldiers the daily horrors of their mission were to take on a even more sinister and sickening mantle when they were witness to another massacre a year after the genocide this time at the Kibeho Displaced Persons Camp.

On 22nd April 1995 in full view of the Australian peacekeepers, over 4,000 died in a hail of bullets and machete blades at the hands of the Rwandan Patriotic Army. Hamstrung by their UN peacekeeping rules-of-engagement the soldiers could do little to stop the killing. They could only watch the carnage and try, under the gaze of the trigger-happy killers to help the wounded.

Pure Massacre is a record of what happened during this peacekeeping mission. Kevin “Irish” O’Halloran, a Platoon
Sergeant at the time, stresses the weaknesses of the UN charter and what happens when “good men do nothing”. He pulls
together the perspectives of the Australian personnel who served in Rwanda at this time. Pure Massacre gives a new and personal voice to the Kibeho Massacre.

It took a special brand of bravery, discipline, compassion and nerve to do what they did. And while no Australian died during and immediately after the massacre at Kibeho their service was not without cost as Pure Massacre testifies, the suffering and tragedy is embedded in their memories.

Kevin O’Halloran

Kevin O’Halloran

Kevin ‘Irish’ O’Halloran was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1961 and migrated to Australia with his parents, elder brother and two sisters in 1970. He grew up around the inner suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria, for most of his teenage years. In April 1981, he joined the Army and has served on four operational tours of […]

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4 reviews for Pure Massacre – 25th Anniversary Ed

  1. On The 22nd April 1995, a crowd of refugees seeking shelter from a storm was fired upon by the Rwandan Patriotic Army. The horror of what followed defies description. However, that horror provided a setting for conduct, on the part of the Australians at Kibeho, which adds lustre to the proud history of Australia’s service personnel in their country’s cause in war and peace.

  2. A new book has laid bare the deep psychological wounds caused to the Diggers who watched, powerless to act, as the horror of the Rwandan conflict unfolded in front of them. Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) – 28 March ’10

  3. Kevin “Irish” O’Halloran, in his debut book “Pure massacre” offers a scathing view of The United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR I1). O’Halloran was the Infantry Platoon Sergeant that provided protection for the Australian Contingent in 1995. He examines the history of the UN and what Australia’s involvement was in Rwanda. The soldiers who had not been on UN Peacekeeping Operations before, had high hopes of the UN being an organization that provided workable and positive outcomes between warring factions or civil wars. O’Halloran describes the UN as an organization racked by internal politics, cultural differences, and in dire need of reform. “The UN is a kind of polyglot men’s club of hypocrisy and bureaucratic blindness in which you do not call a fellow official a murderer even though the world knows he or she is. Countries with the worst human rights abuses sit and give judgment on other countries with much cleaner records”. “Pure massacre” can make for uncomfortable reading at times. O’Halloran describes in detail what happened at the Kibeho Displaced Persons’ Camp. The strict `Rules of Engagement’ that the UN placed on the Australian soldiers meant that Australian infantrymen’s mandate did not allow them to intervene to stop the slaughter. “Under constant goading and threats to their lives the Australians were forced to watch as a heavily armed Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) force of around 2,000 massacred at least 4,ooo refugees in two days of frenzied killing”. There were only thirty three Australians that faced the insurmountable sea of humanity that cried out for help. O’Halloran offers the reader an insight to his own thoughts as well as intertwining the stories of his soldiers. Some of them speak for the first time about their experiences in Rwanda. Lance Corporal Glen Snijders “It was evident leading up to the massacre at Kibeho that the rhetoric was getting stronger and the tension was in the air.” Some of the soldiers recall for the first time the `unseen wounds’ that have haunted them for the past 15 years. Private Matt Jones, “Prior to the Rwandan deployment, I thought the UN was a vital organization that was there to protect those who couldn’t protect themselves. Clearly, I was wrong. I’m very proud of the job the Australian contingents did in Rwanda, however, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to forget what happened and wonder if there was anything more we could have done”. The stories that O’Halloran and other members of UNAMIR II recall are heartfelt and frank in detail. It is truly amazing how these brave Australians handled themselves in such terrifying and stressful conditions as they faced the RPA blatantly killing women and children in front of their eyes. We will never forget the images that George Gittoes and Robyn Bird took to show the world that genocide did happen in Rwanda.

  4. The book is excellent, and written by the perfect person to write it. Irish – well done mate, you have given first-hand insight to all. You and all of your guys should be proud of how you conducted yourselves in such intense moments. Lest We Forget.

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