Saturday, October 30, 2010

Now and then

For those who have some background in the genocide in Rwanda or alternatively have watched the film Hotel Rwanda, Mr. Paul Rusesabagina, the former hotel manager of ‘Hotel Rwanda’ is a familiar figure. On the basis of known facts he saved 1,200 Tutsis during the 1994 genocide. Till yesterday he was a hero. Today he is considered to be an enemy of the State, accused of funding rebel groups in Rwanda (Independent’s article here).

Reading about this I couldn’t help it but watch the film for one more time. I also took another look at Romeo Dallaire’s book, Shake hands with the devil. If you have not read this book, you should. In Dallaire's own words:


My story is not a strictly military account nor a clinical, academic study of the breakdown of Rwanda. It is not a simplistic indictment of the many failures of the UN as a force for peace in the world. It is not a story of heroes and villains, although such a work could easily be written. This book is a cri de coeur for the slaughtered thousands, a tribute to the souls hacked apart by machetes because of their supposed difference from those who sought to hang on to power. . . . This book is the account of a few humans who were entrusted with the role of helping others taste the fruits of peace. Instead, we watched as the devil took control of paradise on earth and fed on the blood of the people we were supposed to protect.

I had no idea but apparently there are two films inspired by the book. A 2004 documentary film directed by Peter Raymont (Shake Hands With the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire) and a 2007 film by Roger Spottiswoode (Shake hands with the Devil).

Also, Dallaire has now published a new book: They fight like soldiers, they die like children. The Global Quest to eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers (Random House Canada, 2010).

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