Hotel Rwanda is a film about the genocide that transpired within the premises of the city of Kigali, the heart of Rwanda during the year 1994. This evil act lasted for 100 days killing thousands of innocent lives of Rwandan men, women and children. But in the film, it did not focus on the genocide. Instead, it shed a light on the heroic and courageous deed of one ordinary man in an effort to save the lives of some of his countrymen.
In the movie, almost all of the aspects of the genocide were tackled including the powerlessness of the United Nations to put a stop to the violent killings perpetrated by the Rwandan government and the Hutu rebels against the Tutsis. This was very much evident when the character of Dan Cheadle was promised by the UN Colonel that he, his family and all the refugees at the Milles Collines will be rescued. But when the colonel had a talk with another UN officer, the plan seemed to have changed.
The colonel explained that only foreign nationals were allowed to leave Rwanda. Only a small number of troops were instructed to uphold peacekeeping and not peacemaking meaning they were not allowed to shoot at anyone even if they commit violent actions. More so, the minimal involvement of the international organizations and their eventual negligence over the escalating killings in Rwanda played a pivotal role in the increased deaths of thousands of people.
Instead of helping the Tutsis to take refuge to a safer place in neighboring countries, these organizations decided not to get involve because of the misconception that nothing can restore the peace and order in an anarchic setting. Moreover in the movie, a Red Cross worker drew some attention because of how she showed her bravery by setting aside her fears and her own welfare just to save a few people from being mercilessly killed by the Hutus. Some aid workers decided to stay in order to help while others chose to flee in order to protect their welfare.
Overall, the movie generated an accurate depiction of the Rwandan genocide. However, some controversial issues were downplayed like the role of the French in the uprising and arming of the Hutu rebels. After the genocide, some reports have surfaced that implicated a few French politicians and the French military with this tragic incident. According to the results of the findings of an “Independent Rwandan Commission,” the French government was “aware of preparations for the genocide and helped train the ethnic Hutu militia perpetrators. The report included that France provided the Hutus with “political, military, diplomatic and logistical support. ” For almost 2 years, the commission had gathered data and interviewed several survivors. All the information that had been obtained, served as testimonies to the participation of the French government in the killing of almost 800,000 civilians in the span of 100 days (BBC, 2008). But the French vehemently refuted the accusations.
In their defense, they stated that the allegations were biased because the commission has only one thing in mind and that is to prove that the French are guilty. The “French Foreign Ministry said “there is no surprise in the conclusions of the commission given its mission” (CNN, 2008). Aside from this, the film also failed to include the admission of the United Nations of its failure to prevent the genocide. But for the UN, this became a learning experience. They realized that people should not be neglected specifically in times of dire need when lives are at stake (BBC, 2000).
Given this new angle in the Rwandan genocide, it should have been also portrayed in the movie. This would have given viewers more accurate representation of what really happened in Rwanda in April 1994. Also, this would have been a chance for the whole world to determine who the real culprits were in one of the worst humanitarian crisis of the 20th century. More so, these events could have provided a comprehensive outlook on how humans are capable of doing horrendous and brutal acts just to have power and control.
Courtney from Study Moose
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