Chasing The Flame PDF

by Samantha Power Another great book by Samantha Power. As she did with Raphael Lemkin in her first book, she brings the person of Sergio Vieira de Mello to life, while giving the history of an institution - in this book, the UN, while in her first book, the concept of genocide.

In the book we can follow the transformation of Vieira de Mello's approach toward his work as he deals with the facts on the ground in places such as Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovo, East Timor, and finally Iraq. Power also points out the strengths and limitations of the UN in these contexts. Through these experiences, however, Vieira de Mello became an expert in post-conflict reconstruction, knowledge that he tried to bring to Iraq but which the Americans and British ignored to their own detriment.

The chapter on his death in the 2003 bombing attack on UN headquarters in Baghdad was particularly troubling to read. After giving his whole life to the UN, the institution failed him in his time of need. It was chilling to see how some of the UN staff picked up and continued the functions of the bureaucracy (i.e., phoning in reports to New York) even as he lay dying in the rubble. The only person with a sense of urgency was Larriera, his wife.

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