Retired Lt.-Gen. Roméo Dallaire first encountered child soldiers in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide.

The author of the Governor General Award-winning book Shake Hands with the Devil has released a new book, They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children, which examines the recruitment of child soldiers.

Tell me about the book.
The book is to inform, and to get youth — high school students, university undergrads and the under-25 crowd — engaged in realizing what is happening to hundreds of thousands of their peers, who are being used as child soldiers and weapons of war ... and give them ideas and suggestions on how to become activists and join

Why can people under 25 make a difference?
Because of their sheer numbers, but also the fact that we are talking about their peers. They can also influence policy by getting politicians in stopping these wars.

How do you think Cana­dians feel about this issue?
I think some people know about it, and most people know about it through the Omar Khadr case, which has had a split reaction. It brought attention to the international criminal law of using children and child soldiers under the age of 18.

You’ve been called a hero for the work you’ve done. How do you feel about that?
There’s nothing heroic about any of this. This is just consciousness that other human beings count just as much as we do, that those children nine, 10, 14 are just as valuable as our children. By seeing these children, I feel I have a responsibility to be engaged.

By writing the book, you had to relive the horrors of the genocide. What was that like?
Just like my first book, returning to hell produces absolutely nothing salutary. It was not a project of joy. There was a sense of duty and responsibility to get the story out. To do that correctly, I had to relive that experience.