HOTEL RWANDA HERO'S BOOK
"The U.N. Security Council, so ineffective in the face of the genocide,
lent its sponsorship to the camps the French set up to protect the 'refugees'.
The main place of comfort to the killers was in a town called Goma,
just over the border into the Democratic Republic of Congo...
The Interahamwe began organizing the refugees into squadrons in the camps,
preparing them for an imminent return to Rwanda
to keep filling the graves."
Last week I finally got around to reading the 2006 book AN ORDINARY MAN by Paul Rusesabagina - the real-life controversial hero of the Hollywood 2004 movie HOTEL RWANDA. See articles written on the subject listed at the bottom of the page.
It has proven to be a good time to read the book because Rusesabagina has been in the international news alot lately defending himself against allegations from Rwanda that he isn't the hero he makes himself out to be - at least not to the survivors from the real "Hotel Rwanda", ie the "Hotel of a Thousand Hills", ie "la Hotel des Mille Collines".
Hotel Rwanda movie sparks public feud. National Post, Apr 26, 2008
There's a new book that's come out about HOTEL RWANDA entitled HOTEL RWANDA OR THE TUTSI GENOCIDE AS SEEN BY HOLLYWOOD which is co-authored by a Rwandan journalist and the public relations advisor to President Kagame*. It was in anticipation of reading this newest book (which a friend has sent in the mail) on the happenings in HOTEL RWANDA that I hurried to read Rusesabagina's book first so as to better understand the arguements between the two.
It is also a good time to be reading Rusesabagina's book because issues he raised there - about the perpetrators of the genocide and how they fled into the Congo (where as the FDLR they are still killing Tutsis) - are also in the news recently, including a story about how Rusesabagina is still friends with big players in the genocide, even testifying on their behalf against extradition to Rwanda to face justice:
Rusesabagina to Testify in UK Genocide Trials. Rwanda News Agency, Mar 31, 2008
FDLR Attacks Camps Halting Aid Flow. Rwanda News Agency, Apr 25, 2008
But getting back to Rusesabagina's book, AN ORDINARY MAN, I'll begin by saying that although it was written two years AFTER the movie HOTEL RWANDA was made, it sticks very close to the script. But interestingly, it goes BEYOND where the movie leaves off, ie with Rusesabagina in a refugee camp for Tutsis being protected by General Kagame's Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) soldiers.
As in the movie, Rusesabagina admits his friendship with the killers at the hotel - even one of the genocidal masterminds - General Bizumungu - and in the book he doesn't have a bad word to say about him. And yet he has bad words for General Kagame, whose army rescued him and all the Tutsis from HOTEL RWANDA. He Orwellianly complains about how the RPF got the food and shelter Rusesabagina availed himself of at their refugee camp. He also accuses the RPF of later killing some of the very refugees they had just saved and of "crimes against humanity" in alleged "revenge" killings against Hutus who didn't escape into Zaire. This hate for Kagame and his soldiers - the ones who saved thousands more people than the 1,268 Rusesabagina takes credit for - is an aspect that wasn't mentioned in the movie but which is very prevalent in the book.
But, as in the movie, Rusesabagina does tell important truths, including an excellent overview of one of the biggest travesties of the genocide, ie how the United Nations - funded by American taxpayers' dollars and armed by France - helped the Hutus who killed the Tutsis in Rwanda make their escape to the Congo and then fed, clothed and sheltered them in camps there for years. But then, true to form, Rusesabagina lashes out again at Kagame and the RPF blaming them for "causing further destruction" in Kigali after they took the city on July 4th, and of "further killings" after the official end of the genocide on July 14th. This hate for Kagame and the RPF - and his accusing them of being no better than the Hutu killers who committed the Rwandan genocide - has been the topic of Rusesabagina's speeches all these subsequent years as he tours the world on the speaker's circuit where he solicits funds for donations to his so-called charity for orphaned Rwandans - none of whom have seen a cent.
From the tone of Rusesabagina's writing I think it will be obvious to discerning readers that he is sympathetic to the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide and their cause (which is to continue genocide in Rwanda) and has nothing but hate for President Kagame and his cause (which is to "never again" have genocide in Rwanda).
The following pages are scanned from AN ORDINARY MAN and I've excerpted below some pertinent passages. To read the text in fuller context, click two times to enlarge:
"...General Augustin Bizimungu now sits in a jail cell. He will probably be there for the rest of his life....Bizumungu was charged with supervising the arming and training of the militias....I have been criticized for my friendship with him during the genocide, but I have never apologised for it....If I had ended that friendship, I do not think I would be here to write these words today. There are also at least 1, 268 people who survived the killing partly because of the instructions of Bizimungu. In my book that counts for something.
"The aborted slaughter at the Mille Collines was what it took to convince all parties that the hotel must be cleared out without further dithering. The United Nations, the rebels [General Kagame's RPF Tutsi army], and the Rwandan Army [deceased-President Habyarimana's Hutu army] conferred and decided to do it that very day....
"I made a last check of the hotel where I had spent seventy-six of the longest days of my life...I made sure that the hotel was empty of everybody who wanted to go. Some of the employees had asked to stay, and I let them. I couldn't tell how many had been spies for the militia [Interahamwe] all along....When the UN convoy pulled away I was in the backseat of the last jeep. I hid under a plastic tarp for fear that the militias would recognize me and shoot at me as we drove by the roadblocks. The Mille Collines had been one of the very few places in Kigali where nobody was killed.
"In the time before the genocide it had been fashionable for the elite to buy country estates near a region named Kabuga just outside the capital....We were hustled there by the Rwandan Patriotic Front, which had turned it into a kind of refugee holding area. But it was no camp in the conventional sense. It was a looting zone. Soldiers from the rebel army [Kagame's RPF] had stolen food from all the shops. Potatoes had been dug out of the fields. Goats had been captured and slaughtered. This made me furious....
"...It therefore does not make me proud to tell you this: I, too, was among those who had to forage for food. I can only say that it was a choice between that or going hungry. My family and I also slept in the house of an unknown family who had fled the advancing rebel army [Kagame's RPF]. I can only hope these strangers would forgive us today....
"The rebel soldiers [Kagame's RPF] were hardly welcoming. They treated us like prisoners of war. Some of the stronger men among us were offered the chance to take a few days of military training to fight against the Rwandan Army [Habyarimana now Bizimungu's genocidal army]. The offer was a little tempting, but I refused. 'I always fight with words,' I told them. 'Not with guns.'....What I really wanted to do was get the hell out of Rwanda. I had had enough. We were away from the militias [Interahamwe] but still in danger to be killed anytime by the rebels [Kagame's RFP]. We were also filthy and exhausted and needing a break. I told my new hosts that I and my family wanted either to be driven to the Ugandan border or flown to Belgium...Nothing happened of course. Day followed day. All we could do was eat more purloined bananas and wait for the war to be over, or to be killed ourselves....
"Meanwhile, one of the largest mass migrations of people in African history was underway....
"In mid-June, just as my hotel was being evacuated, the French announced plans to send a peacekeeping mission to the western part of Rwanda for 'humanitarian' reasons. This gave the genocidaires the chance to look like victims instead of aggressors, and they started to pack up and leave for the protected area that became known as 'the Turquoise Zone'.
"RTLM radio then performed its final disservice to the nation by scaring the living daylights out of the people remaining in Rwanda, a considerable number of whom had just spent two months murdering their neighbours and chasing the less compliant ones through swamps. The radio told them that the RPF would kill any Hutus they found in their path and encouraged all its listeners to pack up their belongings and head either to Tanzania or the western part of the country and the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo (what used to be called Zaire), where the French soldiers awaited. Nearly 1.7 million people heeded the call. Entire hills and cities mobilized into caravans: men carrying sacks of bananas, some with bloody machetes in their belt loops; women with baskets of grain on their heads; children hugging photo albums to their chests. They wound their way past corpses piled at the side of the road and the smoldering cooking fires in front of looted houses. I am sorry to say that the dire predictions of the radio were not rooted in fantasy, as the rebels [Kagame's RPF] did conduct crimes against humanity in revenge for the genocide and to make people fear them. In any case, what was left of Rwanda emptied out within days.
"The U.N. Security Council, so ineffective in the face of the genocide, lent its sponsorship to the camps the French set up to protect the "refugees." The main place of comfort to the killers was in a town called Goma, just over the border into the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is in a bleak area at the foot of a chain of volcanoes and the town is set in a plain of hardened black lava. Into this hellish landscape, the French airlifted twenty-five hundred well-equipped paratroopers, Foreign Legionnaires, helicopters, fighter jets, tents, water supplies, food, jeeps - everything, in short, that the pathetic UN force could have used when the murders were at their height in April. Now all of these assets were being used to feed and shelter some of the very people who carried out the slaughter.
"Many of the French troops sent to support the effort were apparently there in the belief that they would eventually be used to attack the rebel army [Kagame's RPF] which was closing in on Kigali. Meanwhile, the Interahamwe began organizing the refugees into squadrons in the camps, preparing them for an imminent return to Rwanda to keep filling the graves. Radio RTLM set up relay transmitters in the camp so their broadcasts could continue to be heard among the faithful. It was difficult to tell the innocent from the guilty, but comfort was provided to everyone.
"In a surprise for all of us the United States finally was persuaded to act. When cholera and other diseases broke out the Clinton administration announced it would seek $320 million in aid for the camps at Goma and the killers and also the innocent people who occupied them. They also announced a public health initiative to clean up the water-bloated corpses that had floated over into Uganda. This U.S. aid package totaled more than sixteen times what it would have taken to electronically jam the hate radio, which would have stopped many of those people from becoming corpses.
"On July 4, with much of the civilian population in flight, the RPF captured the capital of Kigali after a brief battle. They had conquered a ruined city and caused further destruction. Houses were knocked over. Churches were covered in blood. Hospitals were empty shells, looted of supplies. Land mines and live mortar rounds were lying everywhere. Wrecked vehicles blocked the roads. And the corpses were stuffed everywhere: inside closets, underneath desks, and down water wells, and shoved casually to the edge of the sidewalks. The stench of decaying flesh choked the air. Barely thirty thousand people remained, a tenth of Kigali's population before the genocide began.
"Rwanda's other major cities toppled swiftly from there and the country was all but conquered. On July 14 the plug was pulled on RTLM for good. Less than a week later the rebel (Kagame's RPF) swore in a new government. It marked the official end of the genocide, but not the end of the killings. The aftermath would be long and dirty..." [end quoting from An Ordinary Man by Paul Rusesabagina].
In closing I wish to make the point that in America - and elsewhere in the world - it is Hollywood which decides who will be the peoples' heroes - whether in fact these people are worthy. I have noticed, from my personal experience talking to people who have watched HOTEL RWANDA, that they accept at face-value that Paul Rusesabagina is a hero of the Rwandan genocide. They are incapable of understanding that he is actually a two-edged sword used by the perpetrators of the genocide to mix the truth in with the lie so deceptively that non-informed people will be taken in by his current agenda which appears to be to villify the present-day government of Rwanda in the hopes of helping the genocidal government in exile - Habyarimana's old adherents - return to power in Rwanda. Paul Rusesabagina is a foot-soldier in that endeavour, but his weapon is words, as he said in his book AN ORDINARY MAN: "I always fight with words. Not with guns."
For people to understand what is behind Rusesabagina's words, they need to do independent reading and watch other movies than HOTEL RWANDA to form their own opinions about who's a hero and who isn't in the Rwandan genocide. Not only does it bring alive history-in-the-making, it is also a fascinating study of war and peace. ~ Jackie Jura
Go next to HOLLYWOOD RWANDA TUTSI GENOCIDE
RUSESABAGINA RAVES RE RWANDA (Reader Michael says Rusesabagina invited to give presentation in University in the US)
Rusesabagina says Rwanda smearing him (accused of profiting from genocide) & Hotel Rwanda hero at Lake Superior U (talking discrimination & complacency). Soo/SaultStar, Oct 31, 2008. Go to 17.Falsification of Past
HOLLYWOOD RWANDA TUTSI GENOCIDE, review of book by Alfred Ndahiro & Privat Rutazibwa
HOTEL RWANDA HERO'S BOOK, review of book by Paul Rusesabagina
Interview with Paul Rusesabagina in the Hague. YouTube, April 26, 2008
...Q: Those you claim to have rescued in Rwanda call you a liar with a hidden political agenda... A:...Of course, the Rwandan government, which is also guilty, is using the Mille Collines' surviviors, especially a few of them who are still in the country, who are hostages, in a smear campaign against all my actions...Q:...Are you afraid for your life? A: ...Definitely, President Kagame himself has harrassed me in his own words....He went as far as calling me a Hollywood-made-heroes in front of my wife...
Hotel Rwanda movie sparks public feud (heroism of Rusesabagina vs Kagame). National Post, Apr 29, 2008
Rusesabagina to Testify in UK Genocide Trials. Rwanda News Agency, Mar 31, 2008
The 'Hotel Rwanda' film personality is scheduled to testify this week in the ongoing trail of Rwandan Genocide fugitives in Britain who are awaiting extradition to Rwanda, RNA reports....Mr. Paul Rusesabagina will on Thursday tell Westminster magistrates in London that four accused men will not face a fair trial in Rwanda, The Independent reported yesterday....Rusesabagina has become an outspoken critic of the government in Rwanda and now lives in Belgium. The arrests and the trail came after a special agreement was signed between Britain and Rwanda allowing them to be extradited. They cannot be tried in Britain as courts there do not have jurisdiction over acts of Genocide and crimes against humanity committed by foreign nationals outside the country.
FDLR Attacks Camps Halting Aid Flow. Rwanda News Agency, Apr 25, 2008
Renewed fighting between DR Congo government army and Rwandan extremist rebels - the FDLR - has forced the UN refugee agency to suspend aid moving into camps in the North Kivu province, it reported Friday. FDLR fighters attacked a camp where 1,500 people were sheltering on Thursday, forcing them to scatter, the BBC reported Friday.... The hundreds fleeing in recent days have added to an estimated existing IDP population of 860,000 in North Kivu, which lies next to the border with Rwanda and Uganda....A peace agreement in 2003 formally brought years of war to a close, but fighting flared again in North Kivu that same year. The UN says an estimated 1.3 million IDPs remain in the DRC, while 350,000 Congolese have fled to other countries....As the rebels continue to cause chaos, President Paul Kagame is in Germen where he has urged its government to act on the FDLR leader Dr. Ignace Murwanashyaka - low living in Bonn...
UN approves itself $4.1-billion budget (USA contributes 22% of budget) & Probe proves pervasive UN corruption (peacekeeping fraud of $US-610 million) & UN peacekeepers in criminal charges (soliciting bribes & rigging bids). AusNews/WashPost, Dec 21, 2007
RWANDA FRENCH TURQUOISE FILM (depicts UN-French-Hutu connection)
RUSESABAGINA IMPOSTA RWANDA (reader Sharangabo says Rusesabagina of Hotel Mille Collines may be an impostor or a genius)
Reader Ward wonders where to see the Rwanda movie "Operation Turquoise"
HOTEL RWANDA HERO HOAX (reader Richard wonders if Rusesabagina of "Hotel Rwanda" fame is being used as a genocidaire front man)
SLEEPING ON LAVA IN RAIN
Huge turnout for Hotel Rwanda hero (accused of destabilizing government) & Rusesabagina's Rwanda charity a hoax (money used to enrich himself). EmoryUniv/NewTimes, Oct 23, 2007
CONGO WOLVES ON NKUNDA
Averting nightmare scenario in Congo (on brink of a major war & 17,000 UN peacekeeping troops are doing nothing to stop it). American Progress, Sep 12, 2007
UN PEACEKEEPING NOT KEEPINGPEACE
Kagame says Nkunda's grievances legit ("should be viewed differently to FDLR who are guilty of genocide...won't discuss FDLR but when it's about Nkunda they move tanks"). NewTimes, Sep 11, 2007
Dallaire at new Shake Hands movie (UN soldiers played bluff with howling mobs of knife-wielding Hutu hooligans bent on butchering every last Tutsi in Rwanda). CanadaCom Sep 10, 2007
RWANDA SHAKE HANDS SOON
Rwanda president gets private screening (new movie about the genocide). Globe & Mail, Aug 5, 2007
EX-FIRST LADY DENIES GENOCIDE
RWANDA SOMETIMES IN APRIL (a movie review)
Rwanda: Rusesabagina, Genocide & Identity Politics ("saying Tutsis run Rwanda's like saying Jews run Germany again"). American Chronicle, Jan 16, 2007
HOTEL HERO NOT ORDINARY (reader watched the movie and wants to learn more)
"Hotel Rwanda" hero fears new killings (says Tutsis will genocide Hutus). Reuters, Jan 11, 2007
RWANDA VIEW FROM TANZANIA (reader Richard says Kagame waged war to give Rwanda dignity)
60 MINUTES READING ON RWANDA (......Netflix earned $688 million in revenues last year. 'Hotel Rwanda' did very little theatrical business. But our members like it a lot. They rated it very highly. So our Web site promotes it to more and more people and now 'Hotel Rwanda' is the number five all-time rented film at Netflix"..."Wow", I said to my husband, "can you imagine how much money that phony Hollywood Hutu Hotel Hero Rusesabagina must be getting" to which he replied, "and none of it goes to Rwanda".)
FRENCH HUMANITARIAN ARMY AID FRANCE ORWELLIANLY AIDS RWANDA GOMA'S LUMUMBA VOLCANO GOMA CAMP MAFIA HOTEL THE REAL HOTEL RWANDA (visit by Jackie Jura in July 2006) ICTR "is not properly handling" job (says President Kagame, "It was created to try cases of genocide"). Voice of America, May 31, 2006 Rwanda president scoffs at Hotel Rwanda ("someone is trying to rewrite history") & Shake Hands With Devil begins shooting (about UN's hero Romeo Dallaire) & Dupuis plays Dallaire in Shake (for people who like to cry instead of think) & Hotel hero's friends are genocidaires (Rusesabagina is trading with genocide). CBC/Cinema/NewTimes, May 31, 2006 Rwanda Disowns Hotel Rwanda Movie Hero (portrayal of Paul Rusesabagina is a "falsehood". May 26, 2006 Rwanda is uneasy with Genocide movies. Kampala Monitor, May 21, 2006 Genocide ghost haunting Hotel Rwanda ("hero's" scam hijacking heroism). New Times, May 21, 2006 Rwanda Senator castigates Rusesabagina (revisionist hero in Hotel Rwanda film). May 15, 2006 Sad revisionism over Hotel Rwanda (producer/director of film says Rusesabagina is being denounced by some in his country as a traitor and a criminal). WashingtonPost, May 10, 2006 Rusesabagina fears Rwanda's backlash (Hotel Rwanda hero promoting his book "An Ordinary Man"). Deseret News, Apr 23, 2006 HOLLYWOOD HUTU HOTEL HERO (Reader explains what ururo n' icyatsi means and Jackie mentions movie Hotel Rwanda) "Hotel Rwanda" Rusesabagina no hero. All Africa, New Times Kigali, Mar 1, 2006 *RWANDA BEFORE & AFTER and 10 YEARS ON - THE STORY OF RWANDA, by Dr Alfred Ndahiro, Communications Advisor to President Kagame ABANDONING RWANDA & MAKING MOVIES (Jackie Jura gives opinion on upcoming movies about Rwanda so far) READING ON RWANDA (recommended books so far) DESTINY DESTINATION RWANDA and A WANDER IN RWANDA RWANDA'S GOOD MAN KAGAME and HOW KAGAME BECAME RWANDA'S LEADER 16.Ministry of Truth (Lies) and 25.Prolefeed and 17.Falsification of Past Jackie Jura email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rusesabagina did not do anything special to save the lives of people at the Hotel to deserve heroism. Hotel Mille Colline was a UN protected site at the time and the focus of the UN forces in Rwanda. He instead was fulfilling his business interests...Kagame's quotes: "My humble opinion is that the issue of Rusesabagina distorts our history. They (refugees) did not survive because of Rusesabagina. Actually negotiations were going on between the XFAR and RPF. Demands were sent through the UN. We were communicating for a long time because there were people we had in our hands and the XFAR were saying give them to us and we save the Mille Colline people..."
Senior government officials in Rwanda have expressed their discomfort over new movies on the 1994 Rwanda Genocide...The movies are Hotel Rwanda and Sometimes in April...The problem with the movies is not the plots or the narratives. It is the heroes. The new movies seem to be obsessed with the portrayal of a benevolent Hutu man married to a Tutsi woman as a central theme....The psyche of Rwandans does not seem to be ready for a Hutu hero...
..."Rusesabagina came in as a businessman who threw out whoever failed to pay for the room. He sacrificed nothing. He was just managing a hotel in a way that did not reflect the presence of a crisis..."
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~
FRENCH HUMANITARIAN ARMY AID
FRANCE ORWELLIANLY AIDS RWANDA
GOMA'S LUMUMBA VOLCANO
GOMA CAMP MAFIA HOTEL
THE REAL HOTEL RWANDA (visit by Jackie Jura in July 2006)
ICTR "is not properly handling" job (says President Kagame, "It was created to try cases of genocide"). Voice of America, May 31, 2006
Rwanda president scoffs at Hotel Rwanda ("someone is trying to rewrite history") & Shake Hands With Devil begins shooting (about UN's hero Romeo Dallaire) & Dupuis plays Dallaire in Shake (for people who like to cry instead of think) & Hotel hero's friends are genocidaires (Rusesabagina is trading with genocide). CBC/Cinema/NewTimes, May 31, 2006
Rwanda Disowns Hotel Rwanda Movie Hero (portrayal of Paul Rusesabagina is a "falsehood". May 26, 2006
Rwanda is uneasy with Genocide movies. Kampala Monitor, May 21, 2006
Genocide ghost haunting Hotel Rwanda ("hero's" scam hijacking heroism). New Times, May 21, 2006
Rwanda Senator castigates Rusesabagina (revisionist hero in Hotel Rwanda film). May 15, 2006
Sad revisionism over Hotel Rwanda (producer/director of film says Rusesabagina is being denounced by some in his country as a traitor and a criminal). WashingtonPost, May 10, 2006
Rusesabagina fears Rwanda's backlash (Hotel Rwanda hero promoting his book "An Ordinary Man"). Deseret News, Apr 23, 2006
HOLLYWOOD HUTU HOTEL HERO (Reader explains what ururo n' icyatsi means and Jackie mentions movie Hotel Rwanda)
"Hotel Rwanda" Rusesabagina no hero. All Africa, New Times Kigali, Mar 1, 2006
*RWANDA BEFORE & AFTER and 10 YEARS ON - THE STORY OF RWANDA, by Dr Alfred Ndahiro, Communications Advisor to President Kagame
ABANDONING RWANDA & MAKING MOVIES (Jackie Jura gives opinion on upcoming movies about Rwanda so far)
READING ON RWANDA (recommended books so far)
DESTINY DESTINATION RWANDA and A WANDER IN RWANDA
RWANDA'S GOOD MAN KAGAME and HOW KAGAME BECAME RWANDA'S LEADER
16.Ministry of Truth (Lies) and 25.Prolefeed and 17.Falsification of Past