However, several factors contributed to this slaughter: Years of enslavement and brutal acts by the Tutsis on the Hulus; Belgium’s abandonment; and, the availability of weapons. One of the most obvious reasons for this violence was that many people inside the country and outside the country did nothing. Evil always wins when you do nothing.
When Paul and his family witness their neighbor being beaten by Hutu soldiers, Tatinana begs to Paul to act, but he says there is nothing that he could do. The turning point in the movie is when Paul is faced with the choice of shooting the Tutsis refugees that are at his hotel or being shot, himself. Paul choses to do something. He chooses to bribe the officials for the lives of the refugees. From that point on, Paul choses to take and stand and control his own fate. He changes his appearance and he starts to educate his employees and others to stop standing by and do something. He asks his employees to call any important friends outside of Rwanda tell them of the dire situation, telling them to say ‘good bye’ to these friends and shaming them to help. The result was many of the refugee families were given exit visas to leave the country. Paul chose to do what he considered the ‘right thing’ to do even though the easier path would Page 2 of 3 have been to just wait for someone else to take charge.
When people chose not to see, cruelty can go unchecked. The evil and cruelty in “Hotel Rwanda” was cultivated by dividing the country and separating the different tribes. Identifying what is different about each other rather than what they have in common, like their language, culture and customs. The Belgians did significant damage using a science based on race where there is an optimum measurement of a physical feature which assigns someone to different groups of people. Then people start seeing others as not human. When the Hutu radio announcer calls the Tutsis “cockroaches”, describes why he hates the Tutsis and tells his listeners to ‘watch your neighbors’, it becomes easier to be cruel to someone who is different. Paul experiences this first hand when the UN Peacekeeper tells him that he and his group have less value than “American niggers” and that ‘all his white friends’ have left him.
The cruelty is left to grow as the UN Peacekeepers withdraw from the country. The UN does the opposite of its mission of saving people and leaves the country to mass slaughter. The answer to why are people are so cruel is that we teach them to discriminate, teach them to envy others and hate others, instead of forgiving and learning about who the person really is. Concerning the genocide shown in “Hotel Rwanda” the reason for the cruelty is because society hasn’t dealt with their wounds from the past. If they haven’t acknowledged Page 3 of 3 that others have been enslaved in the past and now, how are they ever to move forward? People are choosing not to deal with these problems. They are choosing to be apathic, sit on the sidelines and do nothing.
Not only is it a moral issue, it shows a person’s or country’s true character. The UN Peacekeepers were paralyzed and could not interfere to save the refugees, but watched the genocide take place. Subsequently, many of the refugees are murdered. Many Western countries refused to interfere. When this genocide was exposed to the people in the West, they made care baskets and shirts that said, “Help Rwanda”. Then, after it wasn’t fashionable, they stopped caring and doing anything. When people are blind they can be the cruelest.