Video from Kelly Mullin
Hotel Rwanda is a 2004 American historical drama film directed by Terry George. It was adapted from a screenplay written by both George and Keir Pearson. It stars Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo as hotelier Paul Rusesabagina and his wife Tatiana. Based on real life events in Rwanda during the spring of 1994, the film which has been called an African Schindler's List, documents Rusesabagina's acts to save the lives of his family and more than a thousand other refugees, by granting them shelter in the besieged Hôtel des Mille Collines. Hotel Rwanda explores genocide, political corruption, and the repercussions of violence.
The film was a co-production between United Artists and Lions Gate Films. It was commercially distributed by United Artists theatrically and by MGM Home Entertainment for home media. As an independent film, it had an initial limited release in theaters; but it was nominated for multiple awards, including Academy Award nominations for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Screenplay. The film also won a number of awards including those from the Berlin and Toronto International Film Festivals. On January 11, 2005, the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released by the Commotion label. It features songs written by several recording artists including Wyclef Jean and Deborah Cox. The film score was composed by Rupert Gregson-Williams, Andrea Guerra, and the Afro Celt Sound System.
Hotel Rwanda premiered in theaters in limited release in the United States on December 22, 2004 and in wide release on February 4, 2005 grossing more than $23 million in domestic ticket sales. It earned an additional $10 million in business through international release to top out at a combined total near $34 million in gross revenue. The film was technically considered a moderate financial success after its theatrical run, and was met with positive critical reviews before its initial screening in cinemas. The Blu-ray Disc edition of the film featuring special documentaries along with selected scenes and audio commentary, was released in the United States on May 10, 2011.
Video from CwnInternational. Part II, part III, part IV, part V, part VI.
Genocide in Rwanda
United Human Rights Council
In 1994, Rwanda’s population of seven million was composed of three ethnic groups: Hutu (approximately 85%), Tutsi (14%) and Twa (1%). In the early 1990s, Hutu extremists within Rwanda’s political elite blamed the entire Tutsi minority population for the country’s increasing social, economic, and political pressures. Tutsi civilians were also accused of supporting a Tutsi-dominated rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). Through the use of propaganda and constant political maneuvering, Habyarimana, who was the president at the time, and his group increased divisions between Hutu and Tutsi by the end of 1992. The Hutu remembered past years of oppressive Tutsi rule, and many of them not only resented but also feared the minority.
On April 6, 1994, a plane carrying President Habyarimana, a Hutu, was shot down. Violence began almost immediately after that. Under the cover of war, Hutu extremists launched their plans to destroy the entire Tutsi civilian population. Political leaders who might have been able to take charge of the situation and other high profile opponents of the Hutu extremist plans were killed immediately. Tutsi and people suspected of being Tutsi were killed in their homes and as they tried to flee at roadblocks set up across the country during the genocide. Entire families were killed at a time. Women were systematically and brutally raped. It is estimated that some 200,000 people participated in the perpetration of the Rwandan genocide.
In the weeks after April 6, 1994, 800,000 men, women, and children perished in the Rwandan genocide, perhaps as many as three quarters of the Tutsi population. At the same time, thousands of Hutu were murdered because they opposed the killing campaign and the forces directing it.
The Rwandan genocide resulted from the conscious choice of the elite to promote hatred and fear to keep itself in power. This small, privileged group first set the majority against the minority to counter a growing political opposition within Rwanda. Then, faced with RPF success on the battlefield and at the negotiating table, these few power holders transformed the strategy of ethnic division into genocide. They believed that the extermination campaign would reinstate the solidarity of the Hutu under their leadership and help them win the war, or at least improve their chances of negotiating a favorable peace. They seized control of the state and used its authority to carry out the massacre.
The civil war and genocide only ended when the Tutsi-dominated rebel group, the RPF, defeated the Hutu perpetrator regime and President Paul Kagame took control.
Although the Rwandans are fully responsible for the organization and execution of the genocide, governments and peoples elsewhere all share in the shame of the crime because they failed to prevent and stop this killing campaign.
Policymakers in France, Belgium, and the United States and at the United Nations were aware of the preparations for massive slaughter and failed to take the steps needed to prevent it. Aware from the start that Tutsi were being targeted for elimination, the leading foreign actors refused to acknowledge the genocide. Not only did international leaders reject what was going on, but they also declined for weeks to use their political and moral authority to challenge the legitimacy of the genocidal government. They refused to declare that a government guilty of exterminating its citizens would never receive international assistance. They did nothing to silence the radio that televised calls for slaughter. Even after it had become indisputable that what was going on in Rwanda was a genocide, American officials had shunned the g-word, fearing that it would cause demands for intervention.
When international leaders finally voiced disapproval, the genocidal authorities listened well enough to change their tactics although not their ultimate goal. Far from cause for satisfaction, this small success only highlights the tragedy: if weak protests produced this result in late April, imagine what might have been the result if in mid-April the entire world had spoken out.
|The Orthodox Bishop of Burundi & Rwanda Innocentios