Hotel Rwanda

I borrowed Hotel Rwanda on DVD ages ago but have never got round to watching it, sometimes deliberately as I perhaps wasn’t in the mood to watch a film about a genocide. Last night was the night and I’m so glad I did watch it.

It is an astonishing true story about a man who finds himself an unlikely hero in the middle the most despicable episode in recent word history, the Rwandan genocide.

Paul is the manager of a 4 star hotel which, due to his bravery, quick thinking and connections, becomes a safe haven in the chaos.  It’s an amazing story of real evil, a few good people standing against it and more people doing nothing.

What appalled me, both at the time and while watching the DVD, was the total disregard shown by the west.  Rwanda has nothing of value. No oil, no strategic benefit.  The western powers sent troops in to get their own citizens out and left everyone else to be slaughtered.

1,000,000 people were killed.  And we in the west did nothing.  When I say nothing, of course I mean nothing except supply weapons to the Rwandan army and Hutus so they could carry out their massacre of the Tutsis more effectively.

Of course we have a long history of only interceeding in situations like this only when our interests are threatened.  Sierra Leone,  Somalia, The Sudan… When will all human lives be of equal value in the eyes of our leaders?  Until they are genoside will happen again and again because it is allowed to happen without consequence. 

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