you're reading...

Hotel Rwanda (2005) DVD

“If a man saves one life, it is as if he has saved the world entire……” (The Hebrew Talmud).

Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle who should have got an Oscar) is the Hutu manager of the Belgian owned Hotel De Milles Collines, caught up in possibly the worst genocide ever seen on this Earth, who saved the lives of over 1,000 Tutsis during the savage murder of over a million Rwandans in a three month period during the summer of 1994.

The population of Rwanda in April 1994 stood at eight million, this means that if it had happened in then UK 7.5 million people would have perished. Just staggering.

Bill Clinton said that the lack of action “was the biggest regret of my Presidency.”

The truth is that the fault lies with Belgium, France and Italy who sent troops to secure the airport but once foreign nationals had left they just abandoned Rwanda to it’s own fate, despite knowing exactly what was going on.

This deliberate policy of non intervention, despite Belgium in particular being culpable through it’s Colonial policy of divide and rule, meant the UN ended up (again) impotent as the Security Council couldn’t agree on rules of engagement for the UN forces in place. Thus Canadian Gen. Oliver (Nick Nolte) just had to stand idly by as events unfolded.

The film is just unremittingly depressing, and a horrid reminder of how the West has abandoned Darfur, Ethiopia and other places in Africa, to gangs of Militia bent on ethnic mass murder.

This in stark contrast to intervention in Kosovo and Sierra Leone which helped save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

It seems unless there is direct economic gain to be had, the major powers aren’t interested in the suffering of innocent poor (and that’s the key) people such as in Myanmar (Burma) and Zimbabwe where the Opposition has called for the West to help.

As a picture it avoided clichés and tear jerking sentimentality just telling the story, but beware it’s tremendously hard to watch and just makes you feel ashamed.

Wearing a white band and going to a rock concert simply isn’t enough, and the old cliché of “for evil to triumph, all it takes is for the good to do nothing”, rings ever true.

We can do something…. Go to


And sign up to “I’m In”. It doesn’t cost anything. Money isn’t the point. It’s making those who count aware that we do indeed give a ding dong dang what happens to our fellow human beings.

Bizzarre Footnote

The film made me have a really vivid dream where James, Richard and me were  in Kabul. We had to be evacuated by Jonathon Dimbleby and, if you typed 99 and then 99  into your phone as a text message you could detonate land mines in the way by simply pressing send.
James was in the back of the car crying like a little girl, so Richard punched  him really hard in the face, at which point I woke up, therefore I don’t know if we made it out alright.Damn.



About dermotrathbone

Writer and co author "Through Red Lenses". Activist Unite the Union, Save Our NHS Hull. Fan of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Hull FC, Munster and Ireland Rugby. Views are mine alone and may not reflect the organisations concerned.


2 thoughts on “Hotel Rwanda (2005) DVD

  1. A genuinely haunting film. For a time, I mentored a refugee from Rwanda. He spoke little of the Genocide (it was too painful) but his disdain towards towards the French (especially) and Belgians was obvious.
    On a different note, Van the Man does indeed have a reputation of being a bit of an odd-ball. I saw him play in Exeter in ’99. He refused to engage with the audience and steadfastly refused to play anything other than tracks from his latest album. A VM gig and no ‘Brown Eyed Girl’! Incredible. Also had the misfortune of trying to negotiate with his agent for him to play at Swansea SU’s  Mid-Summer Ball in 2001. Nightmare. Needless to say, we didn’t proceed with our enquiries.

    Posted by Ian | January 29, 2007, 7:33 pm
  2. When I read Dermot’s dream I could not stop laughing. So funny that James was "crying like a little girl" and that it was me who "punched him really hard in the face"

    Posted by Richard | January 30, 2007, 1:57 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 898 other followers


%d bloggers like this: