We watched Hotel Rwanda last weekend. We skipped it on the big screen – sometimes we let movies slip by, even though we know we want to see them, especially when we know they’re going to make us sad or angry in the end.
I’ve been having a hard time all week putting into words what I felt, what we felt, watching the all-too-true story of what went on in Rwanda in 1994.
Genocide is just a word.
When you see a dead bodies piled up as far as the eye can see, something breaks inside you.
There are certain horrors in this world which defy all rational thinking, and genocide is on top of the list.
We kill each other because we are different, because we are jealous, because others have exploited our differences to their advantage. In Rwanda, white colonists turned the light-skinned, tall, thin-nosed Tutsi minority into the elite of the country, then left the citizens to the wonderful freedom of democracy. The majority, darker-skinned Hutus took power in an election. Then they began to kill the Tutsis. The Tutsis fled to neighboring countries. In 1990, a Tutsi army invaded Rwanda with the mission of liberation. In 1994, the signing of a peace agreement was quickly followed by the death (cue suspicious plane crash) of the Hutu President. Hutus blamed the Tutsis. The Interahamwe militia and the military began to carry out the genocide against the Tutsis. Rape, murder, destruction. Machine guns, rockets, machetes.
Estimates of how many Rwandans died in 100 days in 1994 generally fall between 500,000 and 1,000,000.
If you haven’t seen Hotel Rwanda yet, and you think you have any interest at all in journalism, government, sociology, race, human nature, economics, Africa, or basic ideas of right and wrong, I recommend you sit down and watch this movie.
In case the question doesn’t pop directly into your mind on its own: How does a nation decide which genocides are worthy of our intervention?
[tags]Hotel Rwanda, Rwanda, genocide[/tags]