On the Big Board
|Powerful and heartbreaking film
In 1994, a horrible tragedy in the Central African nation of Rwanda had a powerful effect on the history of the entire continent. Not only did their genocidal cival war bring down the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire, but it also has set forth instability throughout the region, including the Congo, Angola, the Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, Burundi, the Sudan and Uganda.
Triggered by the shooting down of an airplane with Rwanda's Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana onboard, the crash was viewed as a signal by Hutu extremists that they should systematically eliminate any political opposition. In the process, approximately 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered in a type of genocide not seen since the Holocaust. The carnage continued for 100 days until a Tutsi rebel army was able to seize control.
Often from the shadows of tragedy, heroes arise. One such hero in the Rwanda civil war was a man named Paul Rusesabagina. Rusesabagina, the manager of the Hotel Milles Collines during the early days of the genocide, was responsible for saving many lives. He spent his time buying the lives of thousands of Tutsis with liquor, and somehow managing to reason with bands of killers who arrived at the hotel to murder certain Tutsis on their list, convincing them to leave. Rusesabagina also would stay up until 4 a.m., using the solitary phone line that had not been cut off by Hutu authorities to send faxes to U.S. president Bill Clinton and to call both the King of Belgium and the French Foreign Ministry to inform them about what was happening.
Rusesabagina's story will now be brought to the big screen, with Don Cheadle starring as the hotel manager. The film looks poised to contend for awards, and also will bring to the public eye a historical situation that went unfortunately unnoticed by most Western nations. (Kim Hollis/BOP) (Kim Hollis/BOP)