Rwanda:“COMBAT MEDIC” ‘An Australian’s eyewitness account of the Kibeho RPF Massacre’ by Terry Pickard

Published on by KANYARWANDA

Monday, January 12, 2009

“COMBAT MEDIC” ‘An Australian’s eyewitness account of the Kibeho RPF Massacre’ by Terry Pickard

Get to know the African Auschwitz : Kibeho - Gikongoro (RPF criminals have striped Gikongoro prefecture from the Rwanda map!!).
They Said they didn't know. Are we going to excuse them again?

Australian Peacekeeper & Peacemaker Veterans' Association
Review by: Review by Gordon Traill, Iraq Veteran.

“Combat Medic by Terry Pickard is an eyewitness account by an Australian Army Medic who was at the “Kibeho Massacre” in Rwanda.

“Combat Medic” is a fascinating story and a journey of one man’s life, pre and post Rwanda. Pickard is vivid in his descriptions of what it was like to serve on a UN mission.

Combat Medic, an Australian's eyewitness account of the Kibeho Massacre is a personal account of one of the Australian soldier who found himself at the centre of Events that shocked the world, and the personal toll that he paid.

Author Terry Pickard, a seasoned soldier and medic, was one of a 32 strong froce of Australian UN peacekeepers in Kibeho on the 22nd of April 1995 when more than 4,000 Rwandan Hutus were massacred and thousands more injured. No one who walked away from that day ever the same again.

The horror and unimaginable tragedy of the Kibeho Massacre still loons large in the lives of Rwandans and the people sent to help them. Terry Pickard's army career spanned nearly 20 years and more than 15 years after Rwanda he continues to struggle with post traumatic stress (PTSD) triggered by his experiences.

Combat Medic details the lead up to the Kibeho, the massacre and Thierr's ongoing struggle with PTSD in a honest, open and emotional account of this dark day in History.

IBingira, Bihozagara Jacques and other Tutsis genocidaires remind us
the scale of genocide. That scale of genocide that took place at Kibeho remains mind numbing.

He is critical of how people have judged Peacekeeping service and the lack of bravery awards handed out to members of UNAMIR at Kibeho. The powerful and confronting account of Pickard’s time at Kibeho will shock you. It will go some way for the reader to understand, why Pickard has struggled with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for so many years since his return to Australia. Pickard definitely wears his heart on his sleeve as he deals with his illness.
The story of Kibeho needs to be told and be passed on to future generations of men and women who join the Australian Defence Force. “At last the old myth of Peacekeeping service with the UN being just a bit of a holiday and a good way of earning extra money was put away for good”.  
The war criminal, Jean de Dieu Mucyo
“We could only sit and watch in horror”. The scale of genocide that took place at Kibeho is mind numbing. The immense pressure and strictness of the Rules of Engagement (ROE) placed upon
the Australians by the UN would have tested any man’s limits. The Rwandese Patriotic Army (RPA) tried everything to intimidate the Australians to open fire. Strict adherence of the ROE and personal discipline saved the Australians from being killed. SAS patrol medic Paul Jordan said years later "we are good, but not that good". “There were around 2,000 RPA soldiers, all focused on killing, and only 32 of us”.

Pickard details what would have happened if they were caught taking photos. “The RPA would not allow anyone to take photos, let alone footage”. “George Gittoes, the war artist attached to us, had been threatened with death if he took pictures”. He was “determined to let the world know what was happening in Kibeho”. George’s photos have been seen all over the world in magazines and television stories about Rwanda.

Infantry provided security to the Australian Medical team who worked tirelessly with the “sea of humanity” that was estimated to be around 150,000 people. Pickard talks about his trust in fellow Australian soldiers. "We were treating about six casualties who were placed along a wall for protection when shooting started.

I wasn't sure whether I should continue treating them or take up a defensive position. I had a quick look around and saw our infantry blokes on the wire. As soon as I saw our blokes there I instantly knew I had nothing to worry about and was able to continue treating the casualties."

Pickard sums up his time at Kibeho, “April 18-22 1995, was the most testing time of my life both physically and mentally. I believe I did ok. We saved who we could and did our best in the most atrocious conditions”. The members who served as part of United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) were awarded the Australian Service Medal (ASM) for ‘non warlike service’. In February 2006, the Government of the day changed the reclassification of service to the Australian Active Service Medal (AASM) for Warlike service.

Terry Pickard, the ADF members who served as part of UNAMIR and George Gittoes are the real heroes of Kibeho. The Anzac legend lives on.

The Truth can be buried and stomped into the ground where none can see, yet eventually it will, like a seed, break through the surface once again far more potent than ever, and Nothing can stop it. Truth can be suppressed for a "time", yet It cannot be destroyed. ==> Wolverine


Comment on this post