Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Hotel Rwanda (movie)

When the world closed its eyes, he opened his arms

This movie is based on the true story of Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle), manager of a four and a half star hotel, Mille Collines. This ordinary man saved over a thousand Tutsi and Hutu refugees by bribing and blackmailing Military and Government officials, as the rest of the world stood by and did nothing, most hardly even noticed the genocide of nearly a million Tutsi's killed in Rwanda by the Hutu Militia, Interahamwe ("those who work together").

Hotel Rwanda, released in 2004, is rated PG-13 but there are some rather disturbing images that you may not want your kids to see. I found it very upsetting to see the people left to fend for themselves. Hundreds of Rwandan people could have been saved if only the rest of the world had given a toss and UN Peacekeepers were allowed to help instead of pulling out all the 'whites'. We have some powerful forces in the world but why were they not in Rwanda in 1994?

The Rwandan massacre started at the colinisation of Rwanda by the Belgians. They deemed that the taller and thinner Tutsi's were superior to the Hutu's; who both lived in Rwanda, spoke the same language and shared the same culture. The Belgian rulers therefore favoured the Tutsi's for positions of power and a feeling of resentment began to grow with the Hutu's.

In 1962, when Rwanda gained its independence, a Hutu government was installed and the Tutsi's were blamed for all unfortunate events. In 1994 when the Hutu presidents' plane was shot from the sky, the country was 85% Hutu and 15% Tutsi; the Tutsi rebels were blamed and so began the culling of nearly 1 million Tutsi people.

The word 'Genocide' was never used because under the UN Geneva Convention outside countries would then have been obliged to intervene. It is said the world veiwed the devastating act of Rwanda as an ancient tribal feud and so were reluctant to get involved but because of the limited media coverage, a lot of the people of the world did not even realise what was happening until too late.

Hotel Rwanda was nominated for 3 oscars;
Best Actor, Don Cheadle
Best Supporting Actress, Sophie Okonedo
Best Original Screenplay.

Running time: 121 minutes


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