You Must See ‘Hotel Rwanda’

In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

I just saw Hotel Rwanda. I could not sleep until I wrote this. The film left me speechless. Hotel Rwanda tells the story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who sheltered 1268 Hutu and Tutsi refugees during the horrific Rwandan genocide. Everyone must see this film.

I always knew about how horrible the genocide was, but the film takes you inside. I was there with them, and I felt the same tension they must have felt as Rwandans systematically massacred their fellow Rwandans. The violence committed in Rwanda was totally senseless. There is no difference between Tutsi and Hutu, except in the minds of those willing to hate their brother and sister. Almost one million people were hacked to death, and the world, including the Muslim world, did absolutely nothing. It stood by and let this inhuman crime be committed in the heart of Africa.

As the genocide was being committed, I was in the thick of my college studies, dreaming of medical school and going out with my then fiance. I did nothing to stop the genocide. No one did anything to stop the genocide. Watching the film, I had a sick feeling in my stomach. I almost burst out in tears. How can human beings be so cruel? How can human beings be so wicked? How can human beings kill each other with such ferocity? Everyone must see this film.

And once you do, you can’t help but be angry. The film left me angry: angry at myself for not being able to stop such horrible crimes from being committed; angry at the world for not doing enough to stop what was going on; angry at the Muslim world for not doing enough to stop the genocide in Rwanda, and the one currently being committed in Darfur, Sudan. If stopping killing such as that which occurred in Rwanda, or that currently being done in Darfur, is not preventing munkar, which God said is our duty to do, then what in God’s Most Holy Name is? How could Muslims, knowing full well what happened in Rwanda, stand idly by as thousands are massacred in Darfur, and by fellow Muslims? How, in God’s Most Holy Name, how?

Everyone must see Hotel Rwanda. It will change you forever. It will make understand more fully how there is no difference between Hutu and Tutsi, or Arab and Jew, or Black and White, or “Arab” Darfurian and “African” Darfurian. We are all human beings, all created by the very Holy Hands of God, all having the Spirit of God breathed into them. There is no reason why human beings, the best creation of God, should continue to senselessly spill their blood with such ferocious savagery. There is no reason at all.

We said “never again” after the Holocaust; then came Bosnia. We said “never again” after Bosnia, then came Rwanda. We said “never again” after Rwanda, then came Kosovo. We said “never again” after Kosovo, and now comes Darfur. Why can’t we learn from the past? Why do we sit in our institutions and argue over whether or not “genocide” is actually being committed while people are being viciously murdered every single day? How many damn times do we have to say “never again” before we mean it? How many damn times?


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