A Final Sacrifice: Captain Mbaye Diagne

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Instinct often dictates action, overriding any forethought or humanity. One of the most primitive, yet profound instincts is the survival instinct. Self preservation is deeply ingrained into nearly every aspect of life, including the lives of present day people. Thus, diverging from this most innate way of life in favor of saving the life of another is an extremely noteworthy action. The Holocaust is an example of a time in history where preservation often took priority because of its vicious nature. History was repeated in 1994, when decades after the Holocaust, terror, disaster and ugliness surrounded the people of the Rwandan genocide after Hutu forces began the mass killings of the Tutsi people. The predicted response to an ugly time…show more content…
Nonetheless, often his charismatic demeanor was sufficient. On one occasion, Diagne had been traveling with journalist Mark Doyle to an orphanage in Nyamirambo, a dangerous Kigali neighborhood, when they were stopped at a militia roadblock (Doyle; Barker). A member of the militia craned his head through the window of Diagne’s vehicle, while waving a Chinese stick grenade, and demanded to know if Doyle was Belgian. At the time, Belgians were considered to be in support of the rebels, and therefore, a threat to the Hutus (Gregory, Doyle and Faye). To diffuse the situation, Diagne used humor to disway the volatile militiaman. According to Mark Doyle, he joked, “‘I’m the only Belgian in this car. See? Black Belgian!” (Doyle; Gregory, Doyle and Faye). The man was visibly caught off guard and Diagne and Doyle were able to successfully pass (Gregory, Doyle and Faye). Though many of his actions revolved around roadblocks and evading the Hutu militia, Diagne indiscriminately saved the lives of countless people in countless circumstances. It is estimated that at least 400 people owed their lives to Diagne, however he may have saved as many as 1,000 people from the dark trials of the genocide around them (Doyle). The actions taken by Diagne proved to be exceptional when he was faced with the barriers of various countries and the United Nations. All odds were against Diagne’s ability and willingness to act in the

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