Monday, January 31, 2005

hotel rwanda

I saw Hotel Rwanda on Friday night. It's hard to call it a "great movie" because it's about genocide...it would be like calling Schindler's List a great movie. It made me laugh at parts, it made me cry at parts and it made me really angry at other parts.

I don't know how much of the movie was real and how much was fiction, but according to the movie, the Belgians were responsible for the Tutsi/Hutu division. They needed a "ruling class" in their new colony so they divided the people. The lighter skined, taller, larger footed people with skinnier noses were the Tutsi ruling class and everyone else was Hutu. So the Hutu people were abused by both the European colonists and the Tutsi ruling class. They of course didn't like that and so the Hutu formed the Interhamwe (a militia). It was the Interhamwe that was responsible for trying to decimate the Tutsi population...if they killed all the children, they could wipe out the next generation of Tutsi people.
*please forgive the history in a nutshell...I did warn I'm just going off the movie

In the movie, there's a camera crew from the BBC (i think) there to cover a peace agreement that was being signed. When the crew gets film of dead bodies laying in the streets and entire "neighbourhoods" being burned, the main character (wonderfully portrayed by Don Cheadle) says to them "good, I'm glad you have that, if you play that in your countries they will see it and there will be outrage and we will get help". The journalist (pretty sure it was the Joaqin Phoenix character) says something to the effect of "they'll see it on the 6 o'clock news and they'll continue with thier dinners...they don't care about you". It's disgusting that that "searing" commentary on western society is so true.

It sickens me to think about the fact that there have been times of genocide (and there are times of genocide) that the "western world" and other parts of the world were aware of but did NOTHING or next to nothing. Bush rushes into Iraq because he thinks there are weapons of mass destruction. Where was the US when the Iraqi government was gassing the Kurds? Where are they for the Sudanese people right now? Where are they in the Congo, where the entire Tutsi and Hutu conflict is continuing and women are being raped and children are being massacred?

Romeo D'Allaire's book is subtitled "the failure of humanity in Rwanda". It's so sad to think that there are failures of humanity so often because we just don't want to get involved. I hate war, I hate killing...but after seeing the movie (and I'll be reading D'Allaire's book next) I can now understand when war is justifiable.

1 comment:

revswife said...

I have been wanting to see this movie, now that I know its out, we can go. I am glad they make these films, because I hope somewhere down the line, somebody is affected by it and decides to do something. Most people have the attitude of "what can I do, I am just one person" well, one person can do a heck of a lot. Thanks for this post Kristen.