2005 Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture

Maj. Brent Beardsley delivered his speech titled “Lessons from the 1994 Rwandan Genocide”

In honor of Black History Month, Gustavus Adolphus College presented its annual Martin Luther King Lecture on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2005.  Maj. Brent Beardsley, a member of the Canadian Armed Forces during the Rwandan genocide of 1994, was second in command to Gen. Romeo Dallaire, commander of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Rwanda. He testified during the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania. He has also collaborated on a number of documentaries and articles, in addition to commemorative events, concerning the Rwandan genocide.  Political Science professor and event coordinator Mimi Gerstbauer said, “I think learning about the reality of what happened in this genocide forces us to confront some pretty hefty moral failures of our nation and even of us as individuals.

“I think we are confronted with our own selfishness and parochialism. We can be so centered on our own lives and busy schedules that we don’t have the time to care about the slaughter of some 800,000 Rwandans and to take action.” Gerstbauer also suggested attendees see the new film “Hotel Rwanda” and a recent PBS documentary titled “Ghosts of Rwanda” prior to the lecture.