Hotel Rwanda


I spent my entire vacation in search of a good movie. Something like ‘Shawshank Redemption’ or ‘A beautiful Mind’. The best movie I could get was ‘Saving private Ryan’ which I have reviewed in my previous blog. However today I got a movie, a movie that shook my senses and I am hopeful that it will shake many people who are so insensitive to things that happen around the world.

 

The movie was ‘Hotel Rwanda’. I guess Rwanda is a small country in Africa messed up with Civil Wars. The Civil war is between Hutu and Tutsi. Don’t ask what these two categories are. They are not religions nor castes, nor tribes. My limited knowledge of history tell me that Rwanda was under Belgian trusteeship and became independent on July 1, 1962. Belgians divided people based on shape of their nose. People with Sharp noses and tall physique were called tutsi and people with broad nose Hutu. Belgian made Tutsi run the country until they left in 1962, a civil war initiated by Belgians brought hutus in power. Hutus took revenge. Causing worlds largest refugee movement. U.N. forces acted merely as peacekeepers. Thousands of Tusti were massacred.

 

The story revolves around the character of ‘Paul’ a Hutu who is managing a hotel run by Belgian Company. Name of the hotel is … No you guessed it wrong. The name of the hotel is Millnes Collines, a 5 start hotel. The president signs a peace treaty which is not acceptable to his army. The president gets killed in a suspicious plan crash. Being a Hutu Paul is safe but being a good Hutu all his Tutsi friends look at him for help. Amid the chaos of the civil war tourists and press floods to his hotel. His Belgian manager leave the hotel keeping Paul as in charge. Paul has only problems to face while doing a job of hiding Tutsis ‘termed a cockroaches by Hutus’ in his prestigious Hotel.

Its about his predicament to decide whether he should serve the humanity or his hotel’s owners who will not allow him to keep the refugees in his hotel for free. Besides he is no hero, he is a common man with a family to save.

 

The movie is not just about his predicament but also about insensitivity of people towards racism and violence. The journalists running for news bytes, U.N. Colonel who is ordered not to intervene in the ‘internal matter’ but just to act as ‘peace keeper’. Paul’s job is at stake, if not then his humanity is at stake. He perhaps wouldn’t have judged it right if his wife had not forced him to choose humanity over his job.

 

There are all sorts of problems for this ordinary guy to face. With an extremely doubtful future he has to deal with every customer in the hotel with a smile. The customers are mostly people from west come for news reporting and on U.N. mission. His only hope is in the superpowers which he thinks will finally intervene to save him and all the people of Rwanda.

 

When life looses its value, nothing seems to be important anymore in life. The United Nations helplessness was what that depressed me more than anything else. U.N. soldiers have orders not to shoot at any one unless they shoot at them first. They watch the massacres with open eyes without doing anything. People in the world on other side, look at the news say ‘Oh my God! That’s horrible’ and continue with their dinner.

 

Paul gets all the news. He knows that President is dead, he knows that Lady prime minister was killed along with 10 U.N. soldiers protecting her. What perhaps he doesn’t is about his own future. He has to use a well polished language to his customers with a blank face as if nothing had happened. He must get diplomatic so that no one doubts him either as a extreme Hutu or a traitor.

 

Read this dialog of how a Red Cross Worker tells his experiences to Paul.

 

She: They have started killing the children. There are road blocks everywhere.

I was carrying children in my van. They killed all of them. They made me watch them die.

There was a girl, with her little sister wrapped on her back, they were about to chop her, she cried out to me “ please don’t let them kill me, Promise I wont be Tutsi anymore.”

 

I had to pause the movie to bring my mind back to normal. We talk of corruption in our country, communal tensions, Castes. But I felt very fortunate not to be born in a country like Rwanda.

 

The movie castes mostly black people with not so lovable face. Ordinary people with ordinary face. But the movie has an extraordinary story perhaps a tragedy to say. We call a story with sad ending ‘a tragedy’, what do we call a movie that’s opens with lost hope and ends with darkness?

 

And what does the West, the superpowers and the civilized world thinks about the entire proceedings? The feelings of the ‘civilized’ world are expressed best by the colonel of U.N. peace keepers who tell Paul about the orders he has just received

 

Colonel: You Should spit on my face!

Paul: Excuse me Colonel?

Colonel: You are a dirt!

Colonel: We think you are a dirt, Paul.

Paul: Who is ‘we’.

Colonel: The West, the superpowers, everything you believe in Paul. They think you are dirt, you are dung, you are worthless.

Paul: I am afraid I don’t understand what you are saying, sir.

Colonel: Oh Cmon don’t bullshit me, Paul.

You are the smartest man here.

You have got them all eating out of your hands.

You could own this entire freaking hotel except for one thing—

You are black

You are not even a nigger. You are an African.

 

It’s a new thing for Paul to understand. He never thought that he possesses an identity as dreadful as being a Hutu or Tutsi. All the intervention forces of the white people wont shade blood for blacks. They wont stay in Rwanda. The truth is as clear as that.

 

 

The U.N. Colonel has 300 men for the entire country not allowed to shoot. What he can save is only 4 people from Hotel Millns Collins.

There is not drama no thrills nor any action in that sense. Even the climax doesn’t seem enough to end the story.

 

After a very long time I shed my tears for a movie.

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