Hotel Rwanda

Highly Recommended. A simple black hotel manager in Rwanda rescues over a thousand refuges from a genocide of Hutus against the Tutsis in the 1994. I would say that this movie gets my vote for the second best movie of the year, after The Passion, which is the undisputable finest of the year. Million Dollar Baby would probably be third. I must confess, that even though I am a total apologist and fan of fictional stories, the ones that touch my soul the deepest are the true ones like Hotel Rwanda. When you see the heroism of a man like Paul Rusesabagina, you are simply cut to the heart and challenged to examine your life and seek a more courageous and noble lifestyle. There’s something about knowing a real person actually behaved like this, a real person actually acted heroically and compassionately. Put simply, I kept breaking out into tears throughout this movie. Tears over the atrocities committed over 10 years ago in Rwanda, tears over the acts of courage and heroism by an ordinary man, tears over love and compassion of family and friends that can exist in this world, and tears over the fact that the atrocities going on right now in the Sudan and Congo are thrice as bad, and NONE OF THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA CARES enough to report on it. It seems that Americans are concerned about violence against blacks in this country or atrocities against Jews, but they do not tend to care about atrocities against blacks in other countries. Especially when it is black on black or when it is Muslims murdering Christians. This film is a black Schindler’s List. Humble Paul, the hotel manager, who has settled into the comfortable life of managing a hotel frequented by United Nations officials and rich foreigners gets challenged out of his comfort to help the less fortunate when they come to the hotel trying to escape the genocide going on outside the walls. According to the movie, the difference between the Hutus and the Tutsis was simply made by the Belgians when they pulled out of the country and divided the population by physical characteristics like nose shape etc. I don’t think this is really accurate though as the Tutsis supposedly invaded the Hutus 600 years ago, long before Belgian rule. So, that seems to be a bit contrived by agenda. The Hutus become a majority and kill off the Hutu president who was trying for peace, and blame it on a Tutsi conspiracy. This gives the military the motive to being the killing of all Tutsis. At an important moment in the film, Paul asks all the refugees to start calling any officials or dignitaries they may know to tell them about the massacre. He seeks to have camera footage of the atrocities aired because nothing else is working. “We must shame them into helping.” The reporter replies with cynical but ruthlessly correct understanding, “If people see this footage, they’ll say, “oh my God, and go on eating their dinners.” And that is in fact what DID happen. The US, France and Germany are called cowards for not doing anything to stop the killing beyond sanctions. The actor Don Cheadle is now calling for the US to use force to stop the killing in the Congo and Sudan. Well, that is a very hypocritical self-righteous call because if the US is supposed to go in and stop every civil war with our own military, then why isn’t Cheadle fighting for the war in Iraq? 3 to 6 million killed in genocide over there. So Iraqis don’t count? Only genocide of blacks should be stopped, but not genocide of Middle Easterners? And of course herein lies the problem, while the United Nations is accurately portrayed in the movie as the useless impotent presence it was and is everywhere, the US is still somehow the bad guy for not sending our kids to die in other people’s civil wars. Well, if we should go and stop every civil war and genocide that occurs, we would have to invade half the countries around the world. Is this really what these people want? And by golly, we aren’t even allowed by these same Hollywood types to stop Iraq’s civil war and genocide. So what is it? Should we or should we not be the policemen of the world? Should we or should we not stop civil wars of other countries? You can’t pick and choose. I don’t believe we have the moral right to send our sons to die for foreign interests, but I do think we can do many other things such as sanctions, public shaming, UN condemnation, publication of atrocities, etc. I also wonder if the true story had more faith in it. In the movie, there is a mere reference by Paul, “I thank God every day for the time we’ve had.” But that’s about it. The driving force of faith is often excised by Hollywood ignoramuses who don’t understand the transcendent origins of people’s beliefs and behaviors. Great moment in the film when Paul discouragingly tells his wife, “I was a fool. They made me believe I was one of them.” In other words, the rich foreign owners of the hotel, used him for their benefits and gave him little perks to make him happy, but when the trouble started, they bailed. His wife replies, “You are no fool. I know who you are.” Wow, a profound revelation of the heart of marriage. Being truly known by someone. There is a mature understanding of marriage beyond the Romantic notions of feelings and sexuality. Another irony about the story is that while there is an atrocity revealed, it is rather ironic that the Hutus, being the bad guys of the story, are the not so in the story of their origins where the Tutsis actually invaded, conquered and enslaved the Hutus 600 years ago. But that is another story… Another interesting thing: The Hutus keep calling the Tutsis “Cockroaches” which is the semantic necessity for genocide, the dehumanization of the victims, just like Jews being called “Vermin” and rodents in Nazi Germany.

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