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Rwanda Genocide Compared With Hotel Rwanda

2776 words - 11 pages

The continent of Africa has been continually engaged in civil, tribal and cross national conflicts from colonial independence up until present day. What historians regard as the most ‘efficient genocide’ in history, occurred in a mere 100 days in the small central African country of Rwanda. The Hutus and the Tutsis, two ethnic groups within Rwanda, have been at continual unrest for the past half a century. During the 100 day massacre of 1994, a murder occurred every two seconds; resulting in 18% of the Tutsi population being killed. A decade after the war, in 2004, the film Hotel Rwanda was released. The film followed the story of a Hutu man; Paul Rusesabagina as he housed over 1200 Tutsi refugees in his hotel. The Hotel De Milles Collines, a five-star resort in the capital city Kigali, was a safe haven for several hundred Tutsis during the 100 days of slaughter in Rwanda.

The purpose of this paper will be to focus on the differences between the film Hotel Rwanda and the reality of the Rwandan genocide. I will seek to determine how accurately the film draws from history and how much of the film is fiction. For this essay I will first look at the history of the relations between the Hutus and the Tutsis dating back to the 1950s, so to grasp a background of the country. I will then account the events leading up to the 100 day massacre and look at how they were depicted in the film Hotel Rwanda. I will then examine how accurately Paul Rusesabagina and his efforts were displayed in the movie as well as the efforts from the U.N. This essay aims to have a comprehensive summary of the infamous tragedy as well as critically highlighting how Hollywood can alter history.

Rwanda is nestled between the countries of Uganda, Burundi, Congo and Tanzania in the south east of Africa. The majority of the Rwandan population lives in the rural countryside and is engaged in agriculture. Before Rwanda became an independent African run country, it was under Belgian control. In the 1930s Belgium imposed indirect rule and put Tutsis in control of government. The Belgians did not invent the two ethnic groups, Hutu and Tutsi, but colonial intervention enforced a new meaning for the two ethnicities and thus engrained a hierarchy among the Rwandans . The Tutsis could be determined by their taller slighter build, lighter skin and thinner noses; in conclusion, they were the whitest Africans . By 1994 the two groups were visibly indistinguishable because of mixed parentage. This is portrayed in the movie Hotel Rwanda when a journalist asks two women what ethnicity they are; he discovers that one is Hutu and the other Tutsi. The journalist replies that the women could be twins. In the 1950s the newly established United Nations began to pressure Belgium to vacate Rwanda. Belgium introduced reforms to increase Hutu representation in politics, so from the 1950s until 1962, when Rwanda achieved independence a Hutu movement was born....

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