Monday, December 24, 2007

Hotel Rwanda

One of my favorite actors, Don Cheadle expands his range of accomplishments with an Oscar-nominated and moving portrayal. He is Paul Rusesabagina, the well-connected manager of a seemingly misplaced four-star hotel in Rwanda. The Mille Collines, normally an Oasis for white Europeans and dignitaries is transformed into a refugee camp when a civil war breaks out and quickly escalates into mass genocide.

At first Rusesabagina is able to cash in favors to save friends, family and refugees from the genocide raging just outside the front gates. Almost all hope is lost when one by one anyone in a position to protect his beleaguered and growing multitudes is either dead or out of the country. He discovers new found resourcefulness and barters and bribes daily for survival, beside him his last ally in the end, a haggard UN commander played adroitly by Nick Nolte.

Joaquin Phoenix appears briefly as a network cameraman who disobeys orders to venture out of his hotel safe zone to film murders occurring a half mile away despite accurately predicting that even his efforts to disseminate what is going on will no doubt result in non-action on the part of the global community and especially the West.

Interestingly, the producers, in an apparent but subtle political statement, insert excerpts of a statement by then President Bill Clinton, reassuring American citizens in Rwanda of their safety while presumably allowing the genocide of Rwandan citizens to occur with his knowledge.

One could argue anyone questioning our mission in Iraq and our current Presidents commitment of forces there should see this film to temper their judgement and contrast it with the non-efforts of his predecessor in a like-kind situation.

Hotel Rwanda has been likened to an African Schindler's List; only this film takes place in decidedly more modern times (1994) when worldwide press coverage and technology would presumably prevent such atrocities to continue unchecked. To no avail, almost a million were slaughtered. Hotel Rwanda is an excellent film that tells an important story that all should see.


jkruse said...

and contrast it with the non-efforts of his predecessor in a like-kind situation.

In all seriousness - if you think our shameful inaction in Rwanda has anything in common with our shameful action in Iraq, other than the number of dead innocents, you've got a screw loose.

See ya.

jroosh said...

I'm questioning Iraq as well. There have been mistakes and leadership issues, no doubt.

Watching this movie did however make me wonder if the left-leaning would be so critical of Bush and our military had we gone into Rwanda instead of Iraq.

I also wonder if the left-leaning would be so critical of the same Iraq invasion had it been Al Gore as Commander-in-Chief following the same course of action that Bush has.

Granted, there were no rumors of Hutus harboring WMD's, but we (the West, and the UN) allowed over 800,000 Rwandans to be killed and did nothing. I don't think either Bush would have allowed this to happen.

There are obviously a lot of differences in the two situations but there are many similarities.

Kermit said...

Rwanda was all the UN. remember that next time you trot out your "shameful" BS.

Kermit said...

Couldn't agree more about Cheedle.

Bike Bubba said...

Liberating Iraq from a dictator who spent Oil for Food money on weapons and palaces, resulting in the estimated deaths of tens of thousands annually, is shameful? Huh? Ending his violent suppression of ethnic minorities is shameful?

Now certainly things aren't perfect in Iraq. Far from it. But to call our efforts "shameful" is, well, shameful.