Tuesday, January 25, 2011

An Ordinary Man (Hotel Rwanda) by Paul Rusesabagina

In the spring of 1994, I was expecting Amber.  I wasn't keeping up with the news, and if I heard about Rwanda, I don't remember it.  I never watched Hotel Rwanda.  I knew enough to know it was a heartbreaking story--the kind of movie without a happy ending--the kind of movie I avoid.  So when I picked this book up, I wasn't sure I really wanted to read it.  I knew it wouldn't have a happy ending either.  BUT I decided that since it really happened, and is actually part of history, I should read it.  I'm glad I did.  While the 100 days of genocide was truly horrifying and unbelieveable, the author's childhood, education, and the history of Rwanda that he shares was fascinating.  Especially interesting is the way the political system--the people in power--used the media to stir up hatred, causing normal people to turn against their neighbors, friends, schoolmates, fellow employees--to actually slaughter them.  We need to read these types of stories in order to recognize how these things come about.  While not as many people died, I found this to be every bit as unbelieveable as the Holocaust, if not more so, because of the involvement of so many ordinary people.  Below is the review from Amazon. . .

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. For former hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina, words are the most powerful weapon in the human arsenal. For good and for evil, as was the case in the spring of 1994 in Rwanda. Over 100 days, some 800,000 people were slaughtered, most hacked to death by machete. Rusesabagina, inspiration for the movie Hotel Rwanda, used his facility with words and persuasion to save 1,268 of his fellow countrymen, turning the Belgian luxury hotel under his charge into a sanctuary from madness. Through negotiation, favor, flattery and deception, Rusesabagina managed to keep his "guests" alive another day despite the homicidal gangs just beyond the fence and the world's failure to act. The humble hotel manager not only illuminates the machinery behind the genocide but delves into Rwanda's complex and colorful cultural history as well as his own childhood, the son of a Hutu father and Tutsi mother. . . .
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

No comments:

Post a Comment