Friday, May 07, 2010

Rwanda / Rwandan Genocide

Photo: "Paul Rusesabagina, left, and Don Cheadle attend a premieere of Hotel Rwanda on Sunday, November 14, 2004, in New York City. - Tim Grant/MCT"

Hero of Hotel Rwanda Campaigns for Truth about Genocide
By Fletcher Farrar
Illinois Times, May 6, 2010
"Just when we thought Rwanda had reinvented itself into a genuine success story in Africa, and that Rwandan president Paul Kagame had become a star of international leadership, along comes the hero of Hotel Rwanda to tell us it isn't necessarily so. Paul Rusesabagina, portrayed in the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda by actor Don Cheadle, speaks in Springfield 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 12, at the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Rusesabagina is disillusioned with Kagame, who led rebel forces that ended the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Kagame has been president since 2000 and faces reelection in August. He is widely credited not only with restoring order in Rwanda, but also with revitalizing the nation's economy. But Rusesabagina has been spreading the message that Rwanda's gains have come at the price of freedom, and that unless the international community somehow curbs Kagame's increasingly repressive ways and brings out the full story of the genocide, Rwanda's success could come undone. In a telephone interview with Illinois Times from his home in Brussels, Belgium, Rusesabagina said he will ask his Springfield audience to partner with him in his effort to bring out the truth about the genocide. 'So far, no one talks about the truth in Rwanda,' he says. 'They talk about unity and reconciliation. But people should never unite without the truth.'
Because of the film, many know the story of how Rusesabagina, serving as manager of the Hotel des Mille Collines (thousand hills) in Kigali, risked his life to shelter Hutus and Tutsis who came there seeking refuge from the genocide that killed more than 800,000 people in a period of 100 days. 'What you may not know,' he says in a video on his foundation's website, 'is that the ethnic conflict which led to this genocide has still not been resolved. The ethnic conflict has spread to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where more than 5 million people have died. The exploitation of the Congo's 'conflict minerals' by Rwanda is fueling this horrible war. Poverty, inequality, discrimination and political repression are on the rise in Rwanda. We have a moral responsibility to change this.' [...]"

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