“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 tohttp://www.oxfam.org.uk/
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.
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.