Saturday, February 26, 2005

Hotel Rwanda

Eelin is back from Down Under and I finally have someone to watch movies with instead of always pestering Mr D to watch with me.. And the first show that we went to watch is Hotel Rwanda. Its truly an award winning movie, and in my opinion, really deserved all the Academy nominations.

This movie is set during the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. When the Belgians occupied Rwanda, they artificially segregated the Rwandans into 2 main group; the Tutsies and the Hutus. Power were given to the Tutsies during the colonial occupation of the Belgians and resentment towards Tutsies from the Hutus began to built up. When the Belgians relinguished their colonial ruling, this resentment turned into outright hatred among the Rwandans. The hatred escalated and then turned into a massacre of Tutsies. What was worse was that this violence was actually being openly encouraged over the radio by the government. During times of hatred, sanity was lost. About 100 million Rwandans were brutally cut down in just 100 days. Corpses literally littered the streets. Tutsies women were thrown in pig pens and made to serve the Hutu militia sexually. They weren't even given clothes or food and were literally treated like animals. Entire families were slayed by machetes. Tutsi children were main target so as to eliminate the next generation of Tutsies. This was a systematic elimination of an artificially created race of people.

During the 100 days of hell for the Rwandans, the Western powers whom the Rwandans believed in, let them down. America had a hard time deciding if its a true genocide since it was Africans killling Afrians and was, stictly speaking, not considered genocide. Italians, French, Belgians and British decided to pull out their people from Rwanda instead of helping to supress the situation.

It was against this backdrop of genocide that the show was set in. Paul Rusesabagina, played by Don Cheadle, was the hero of the show. He single handedly saved more than a thousand Rwandans, regardless of whether they were Tutsies or Hutus by hiding them in Belgian territory, his hotel. And all the while, he had to be strong for his family even though he was already emotionally affected by the atrocities that he had seen.

This was one show which really affected me. There were even some parts when I teared in the show. There was an underlying theme of violence throughout even though the show was not graphic. I can feel the fear of the refugees, how they were so afraid for their lives and the lives of their families. I can feel the irrational hatred of the Hutu militia. I can feel how scared and violated the women were when they being raped repeatedly at the sick pleasure of the militia. I can feel the loathe towards the greed of the military who were out to exploit the situation. Most of all, at the end of the show, I can't help but think, how can a human actually have the ability to commit such atrocity against another fellow human? Its the same question that I believed everyone will ask during any wars. And you also can't help but felt sick when the whole world watched and took their time deciding the course of action while each day, so many Rwandans were being slaughtered senselessly. At the end of the day, however, I doubt any outsiders will truly understand how the Rwandans felt during the whole ordeal. As quoted by a reporter in the show, even if people were shown footages of the atrocities being committed, in the end, they will only say "thats horrible" and then continue to have their dinner cos for the rest of the world, the victims had became statistics.

This is truly one show that everyone should watch and remember how humans are capable of such brutality.

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