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HOTEL RWANDA and SOMETIMES IN APRIL SUBJECTS — World/Rwanda & the Post-Cold War Era; U.S./1991 to Present; SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Human Rights; Courage; MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Respect; Citizenship. "Hotel Rwanda": Age: 14+; MPAA Rating -- PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief strong language; Drama; 2004; 121 minutes.; Color; Available from Amazon.com. "Sometimes in April": Age: 14+; Rating: TV-MA (suitable for mature audiences or adults only); Drama; 2005; 140 minutes; Color. Available from Amazon.com. Description: These films describe different aspects of the Rwandan genocide. From April to July 1994, some 927,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu were shot or hacked to death. The perpetrators were the Hutu-dominated army, the Interahamwe militia, and the neighbors and friends of the victims. The international community - in particular, the United States, Western Europe and the U.N. - knew what was going on but stood by and did nothing. "Hotel Rwanda" tells how Paul Rusesabagina protected 1,268 people who took refuge in the Hotel Mille Collines. Like "Schindler's List," this movie paints an inspiring portrait of one man's evolving moral conviction and how, using his wits and charm, he held maniacal killers at bay. "Sometimes in April" has a broader sweep, recounting the stories of many victims of the genocide. In addition, the film describes the situation of three fictional survivors. Martine, a teacher at a Catholic girls' school, lives with the memory of seeing her class massacred. Augustin is a Hutu who had married a Tutsi. His wife and sons were murdered trying to escape. His daughter was a student in Martine's class. Augustin's brother, Honore, was a hate-mongering announcer for Radio RTLM. As the story begins, Honore is on trial before the International War Crimes Tribunal for inciting people to commit genocide. "Sometimes in April" shows the genocide in a series of flashbacks. Scenes of documented atrocities are recreated in the movie, including: the murder of young girls at a Catholic school, Hutu and Tutsi alike, when the Hutu girls refused to give up their Tutsi classmates; the killing of moderate Hutu Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana; and the repatriation of mostly white foreign nationals by French and Belgian troops, leaving a group of Tutsis to their fate at the hands of waiting genocidaires. "Sometimes in April" shows the three survivors trying to deal with the effects of the genocide. The film shows a gacaca (pronounced ga-cha-ca), a Truth and Reconciliation style village meeting used to reintegrate low level killers into society without further punishment. It also shows proceedings at the International Criminal Tribunal in Arusha at which the leaders of the Rwandan genocide are being tried for crimes against humanity.
LEARNING GUIDE MENU Benefits of the Movie Possible Problems Parenting Points
Benefits of the Movies: Both movies stay very close to the truth. "Sometimes in April" Selected Awards & Cast paints a more complete picture of the genocide, showing the horror of the hundred days Helpful Background and the difficulty of recovery. The film raises questions of guilt, punishment, A Brief Selective History forgiveness, and reconciliation that Rwandans must still resolve. The Aftermath
"Hotel Rwanda" shows less killing and focuses on the uplifting story of an ordinary man who rises to heroic stature under the most frightening circumstances. It is an excellent lesson in courage. "Hotel Rwanda" also describes the difficult position of peacekeeping forces when they are not supported by the U.N. and the international community. By focusing on the daring of Mr. Rusesabagina and the survival of the refugees at the Mille Collines, "Hotel Rwanda" provides a cushioned introduction to the horrifying subject of the Rwandan genocide.
A Low Tech, Personal Holocaust International Response Role of the Media What Makes a Genocide? Recipe for Genocide Other Heroes
Dallaire's Story Each of these films will acquaint students with the continuing problem of genocide. After the Holocaust the world said "Never again." However, since 1945, humanity has R2P -- The Future of International repeatedly stood by and let genocide occur. (At present the world is struggling with a Peacekeeping genocide in Darfur.) Building Vocabulary
Both movies can serve as a springboard to discussions on the legacy of colonialism and the challenges facing emerging countries in Africa. Students can explore the history and dynamics of genocide and issues of justice and forgiveness on a personal and national level. These films can also promote discussions of the potential for peacekeeping, as well as the responsibilities of individuals and the media in times of crisis.
Possible Problems: SERIOUS: Both films show the murders of many people. However, there is no gratuitous violence and care has been taken to avoid making the images too graphic. Scenes of people being killed with machetes are shot from a distance. But depictions of genocide are upsetting. Sensitive children might be disturbed by either of these movies.
Bridges to Reading
--- Social-Emotional Learning --- Moral-Ethical Emphasis (Character Counts)
Links to the Internet Assignments, Projects & Activities Bibliography
Both "Hotel Rwanda" and "Sometimes in April" contain profanity uttered in extreme situations. Parenting Points: Tell children that each of these movies accurately shows what happened in Rwanda in 1994. Hotel Rwanda focuses on the heroism of one man and while his heroism is important, the story of the Rwandan genocide is about some 927,000 people being murdered by their countrymen, friends, and neighbors. Immediately after the movie ask the Quick Discussion Question for that film. Then at odd times over the next week (for example at the dinner table or in the car on the way to school) bring up one of the other Discussion Questions. Don't worry if you can only get through a few questions. Just taking the film seriously and discussing it a little is the key. Allow your children to watch these movies several times on their own if they want.
This Learning Guide is dedicated to the memory of the victims and to the survivors, with hope for a better life for the people of Rwanda and the East Africa region.
Selected Awards, Cast and Director: HOTEL RWANDA
See Quick Discussion Question for "Hotel Rwanda" and Quick Discussion Question for "Sometimes in April".
Selected Awards: 2004 Academy Awards Nominations: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Cheadle); Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Sophie Okonedo); Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen;
WORKSHEETS: TWM offers the following worksheets to keep students' minds on the Featured Actors: Don Cheadle as Paul Rusesabagina; Sophie Okonedo as Tatiana movie and direct them to the lessons that can be learned Rusesabagina; Nick Nolte as Colonel Oliver. from the film. Film Study Worksheet Director: Terry George for a Work of Historical Fiction; SOMETIMES IN APRIL
Selected Awards: None. Featured Actors: Idris Elba as Augustin Muganza, Oris Erhuero as Honore Muganza, Carole Karemera as Jeanne Muganza (Augustin's wife), Abby Mikiibi Nkaaga as Rwandan Col. Bagosora, Pamela Nomvete as Martine, Debra Winger as Prudence Bushnell. Director: Raoul Peck
Film Study Worksheet for ELA Classes; and
Worksheet for Cinematic and Theatrical Elements and Their Effects. Teachers can modify the worksheets to fit the needs of each class. See also TWM's Historical Fiction in Film CrossCurricular Homework Project and Movies as Literature Homework Project.
Helpful Background: A BRIEF SELECTIVE HISTORY All Rwandans share a common language, Kinyarwanda. They have the same cultural heritage, including a common national mythology which enshrines the origins and historical relationships of their three peoples: the Hutu (85% of the population); the Tutsi (14%); and the Twa, or Pygmy (1%). The Rwandan myth of origins asserts that the first king of the earth had three sons, GaTWA, GaHUTU,and GaTUTSI. Each was given a pot of milk. Gatwa drank all of his. Gahutu spilled his. But Gatutsi, demonstrating his natural superiority, kept his safe. So the king put Gatutsi in charge of all. The word Hutu originally meant "servant" or "subject" and the word Tutsi meant "rich in cattle." History Facing the Present: An Interview with Jan Vansina - Professor Emeritus Ghent University, Belgium. In general, but with many exceptions, the Tutsi were taller and had sharper features. The Hutu (again generally and with many exceptions) were shorter with larger noses and blunter features. Tutsi tended cattle, and were overlords. Hutu farmed the land and were regarded as peasants. It was possible to change one's classification by intermarriage or "social climbing." In effect, the difference between Hutu and Tutsi was one of caste/class rather than ethnicity.
For a more complete discussion of the history of Rwanda, see Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda by Human Rights Watch. For time lines of the genocide see Rwanda: A Brief History of Events or PBS Frontline "Ghosts of Rwanda".
GENOCIDE: A word created in 1944 by Dr. Raphael Lemkin. It is derived from the Latin words "geno" meaning race or tribe, and "cadere," meaning "to kill". Examples of words derived from "cadere" are: homicide, suicide, patricide, and infanticide. Dr. Lemkin was one of the few people in
In 1884, a hundred years before the genocide, the European colonial powers began to operate in the Great Lakes section of Africa that includes Rwanda. (1884 was also the year the Dutch took control of South Africa.) Rwanda was initially colonized by the Germans. The peace treaty ending WW I, gave a League of Nations "trusteeship" over the colony to Belgium. The Tutsi, who looked more European to the colonizers, were seen as natural aristocrats and were favored in government and society. Employing a "divide and rule" strategy, the Belgians used the Tutsi to help them control the Hutu. Identity cards were issued with Hutu and Tutsi as "ethnic" designations in 1926.
his extended family to escape the Nazi death machine.
BUILDING VOCABULARY: "Hotel Rwanda": genocide, brokered, denounced, Interahamwe, agitators, reprisals, massacres.
During the late 1950s, many African colonies became independent. The Belgians turned the government of Rwanda over to the majority Hutu, who promptly reversed the preferences that the Tutsi had enjoyed. After independence in 1962 it was Tutsi children "Sometimes in April": who were excluded from school and Tutsi adults who could not get government jobs. From the 1960s onward, there were episodes in which Tutsis massacred Hutus and Hutus massacred Tutsis in both Rwanda and neighboring Burundi, which has a similar class/caste system. Some of the massacres were very large, with 200,000 Hutu and Tutsi being killed in Burundi in 1993. Due to repression and recurring massacres, half the Tutsi population of Rwanda had fled to neighboring countries by 1994. Many Hutu from Burundi, radicalized by the conflict in their own country, had fled to Rwanda. In 1990 the exiled Tutsi formed a rebel force, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, or RPF, to invade their homeland and win the right of return. This set the stage for the Hutudominated Rwandan government to paint all Tutsis as traitors. The government condoned or actually sponsored outbreaks of violence against the Tutsi. The RPF was better trained and had a brilliant general, Paul Kagame. By 1993 the RPF was a real threat to the Hutu-dominated Rwandan government. A coalition government was announced in 1993 after negotiations in Arusha, Tanzania. The UN passed a resolution creating the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) under a Chapter VI mandate to assist in implementing the Arusha Accords. (Peacekeepers operating under Chapter VI of the U.N. Charter may only use force if they are attacked and only to defend themselves.) General Roméo Dallaire of Canada was appointed Force Commander. He first arrived in Rwanda on an information-gathering mission with little more than a map and an encyclopedia article on Rwanda. Dallaire requested 5,000 peacekeeping troops but was granted only 2,500. The genocide was planned months or years in advance by Hutu extremists in the army and the government. It was launched in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, on April 7, 1994 when the plane carrying Rwandan president Habyarimana, and Burundian President Ntaryamira (also a Hutu) was shot down by a hand held, ground to air missile. The genocide ended only when the RPF completed its conquest of the country on July 18, 1994.
genocide, proxies, Interahamwe, Inyeri.
Index to Helpful Background Section
A Brief Selective History The Aftermath A Low Tech, Person to Person Holocaust International Response and Responsibility Role of the Media - Its Responsibility What Makes a Genocide? Recipe for Genocide Other Heroes Dallaire's Story Responsibility to Protect -- The Future of International Peacekeeping
When asked by a priest from the Episcopal Church about the role of the Christian clergy in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Mr. Rusesabagina responded that the Christians in Rwanda remained silent in the face of the genocide and that the Muslims were more
active in objecting to it than the Christians [Note that Rwanda is one of the most Christian nations on earth: Roman Catholic 56.5%, Protestant 26%, Adventist 11.1%, Muslim 4.6%, see CIA World Factbook.] The relative lack of protest and even the active complicity in the genocide by established Catholic and other Christian churches, with certain exceptions, is reported by many sources. See e.g., Human Rights Watch and Gérard Prunier in The Rwanda Crisis - History of a Genocide, Columbia University Press, New York, 1995, p. 250 - 253. Others contend that the role of the clergy and church hierarchy was mixed in the extreme circumstances of the genocide. Sibomana, Hope for Rwanda pp. 121 - 136. Note that Mr. Sibomana was a Catholic priest and human rights activist. He was denied the opportunity for medical treatment because of his criticism of the new regime and died in Rwanda in 1998.
Paul Rusesabagina and others report that the only organized religious group to protest the THE AFTERMATH genocide were the Muslims. Rusesabagina Lecture, Los As the RPF gained territory from Rwandan government forces, millions of Hutu refugees Angeles California, April 4, fled to camps in Goma, Zaire, and other border areas. Many genocidaires were 2006. "The only faith which embedded in the stream of refugees. International humanitarian aid poured in to provided a bulwark against prevent famine and disease in the camps. This had the undesired effect of bolstering the barbarity for its adherents was Hutu extremists, who wound up as de facto leaders of the refugees. They continued Islam. There are many testimonies to the protection their aggression from the camps. The new Rwandan government, now dominated by members of the Muslim Tutsi, has itself launched incursions into neighboring countries. Instability and warfare community gave each other within the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi have resulted in four million deaths in the Great Lakes Region of Africa in the decade since the Rwandan and their refusal to divide themselves ethnically." genocide. Prunier, above, p. 253.
The RPF crammed 100,000 accused genocidaires into inadequate prisons. Rwandan courts started trying people suspected of planning the genocide in 1996. In 1998 some condemned prisoners were publicly executed. At the time, these executions were considered therapeutic. Several years after the genocide the government sought to use a traditional form of Rwandan dispute resolution called "gacaca" to reconcile the ordinary people who
RWANDA GEOGRAPHY: Rwanda is located in the Great Lakes area of central East Africa, along the Great Rift Valley. The mountainous West of the country borders the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and parts of Uganda to
participated in the killing with their former victims and the survivors. Gacaca hearings were traditionally used to address relatively minor property disputes within villages. They stress truth-telling and accountability. For a description of how gacaca worked in traditional Rwandan society, see Rusesabagina & Zoellner, An Ordinary Man, pp. 8 & 9. The word "gacaca" comes from the Kinyarwanda word for grass or lawn. The dynamic of this "justice on the grass" has worked well in South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation process. But Rwanda's wounds are far more traumatic and the current government's commitment to human rights is not as strong as the commitment of Nelson Mandela's government in South Africa. Unfortunately, "justice on the grass" has proven inadequate to deal with the wounds of genocide. The gacaca program has now virtually collapsed. For a critical look at how the gacaca courts have failed and a list of references on the web, see Gacaca Courts in Post-Genocide Rwanda by Radha Webley.
the North and Burundi to the South. Eastern Rwanda is mostly high uplands, which it shares with its neighbor, Tanzania. See free blank map of Rwanda and adjacent countries and CIA Factbook Map of Rwanda
Even after the genocide, Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa. In world-wide comparisons, its population density is second only to that of Bangladesh.
In 2003, President Kagame ordered the release of some 40,000 prisoners: the very old, the very young, and the gravely ill. The Rwandan government has also instituted a program to cut in half the sentences of convicted genocidaires who confess and cooperate with authorities. These programs removed about half of the prisoners from Rwanda's overcrowded jails. They not only freed prisoners but relieved their families of a The source of the Nile River is tremendous burden. When a person is imprisoned in Rwanda, the family must provide in Rwanda. food. The prisons only accept food during the days. This usually means that the spouse cannot work, a factor which further impoverishes the family of the prisoner. Paul Rusesabagina, April 4, 2006 Lecture, Los Angeles, CA.
The civil war brought the Tutsi to power again. RPF general Paul Kagame served as the unelected president of Rwanda from 2000 to 2003. In August of that year, Kagame was elected president with an incredible 95% of the vote. Observers charge that he won through intimidation and by outlawing the opposition party. See "Kagame won, a Little Too
Most genocides have been explained to the public as being preemptive and defensive. The concept is to get them before they get you.
In 2003, in an interview, President Kagame stated that:
Genocide is central to the history of Rwanda and Rwandans because it is an expression of what went so badly wrong in our history. We must therefore understand the causes of the problem, confront them, and address them. It plays a central role. It tells us about our history. It tells us about the present and it tells us about the future as well, informing us that if we are to move into the future with hope, there are certain issues that we must address without question. Otherwise there is always a danger that if we do things wrong, there is a possibility of sliding back. I am sure that all the people of Rwanda, irrespective of their backgrounds, would not wish that to happen again. It caused a disaster for everyone. There is nobody in Rwanda who did not suffer from this bad period in our history. So reason will have to prevail in informing everyone that we cannot have a repeat of this kind of thing at any cost. See Interviews with A Leader from the Rwandan government's web site.
Some commentators doubt that there would have been a genocide if the Rwandan government had not felt so threatened by the Tutsi rebels returning from Uganda. However, there is no excuse for genocide, ever.
Rebuilding Rwanda with the survivors and the genocidaires living side by side is "as though in 1945 the Jews and the Germans were to live together in Germany after the Holocaust under a Jewishdominated army...." Melvern, A People Betrayed, p. 222.
President Kagame has ordered that designations of Hutu and Tutsi be removed from identity cards. He claims that approximately 5% of the public revenue is allocated to relief for victims of the genocide. It pays for school fees, shelter, and medical treatment for victims. He states that he would like to do more but Rwanda is a poor country. President Kagame is also critical of the International Criminal Tribunal in Arusha. It has "Sometimes in April" ends spent more than six hundred million dollars and has processed only a handful of cases. with a scene of a gacaca See Interviews with A Leader from the Rwandan government's web site.
Kagame has his critics, among them Paul Rusesabagina, who had to flee Rwanda two
In a lecture in Los Angeles,
years after the genocide. Persons with high positions in the government threatened his life to obtain an advantage in a business transaction. Mr. Rusesabagina now lives in Belgium. He ridicules Kagame's claim that he received 95% of the vote in a free election and charges that Kagame is behaving like any other African despot. According to Rusesabagina Rwanda today is "governed by and for the benefit of a small group of Tutsis." Rusesabagina & Zoellner, An Ordinary Man, p. 199.
California, in April 2006, Paul Rusesabagina, explained why he could not leave the Hotel Mille Collines until the last refugee had been rescued. "I never would have been free. I would have been a prisoner of my own conscience." He went on to say that had he left a refugee in the hotel he would not have been able to enjoy the simple pleasures of life such as being with his wife and children or enjoying a good meal.
Some actual survivors of the genocide played the "swamp people" who were called out of hiding in "Sometimes in April."
The necessity of Justice: Justice is a basic human right. Every human being has a right to have justice done. Acknowledging this universal principle, André Sibomana describes a situation in which a Hutu peasant hid a Tutsi family for several weeks but was finally found out. The militia told him, "'Now prove that you are a good Hutu. ... If you don't kill these cockroaches yourself, we will kill your wife and children. Make your choice!' So he killed with his own hand the family he had hidden and fed for several weeks. But that was not enough for the Interahamwe. Before they left, in order to punish this bad Hutu who had been an 'accomplice' of the Tutsi, they killed his wife and children. Today, this peasant is asking 'Who am I? If those militiamen are not punished, then who am I? If they are still free, then what about me, where do I belong?" Sibomana, Hope for Rwanda, p. 105.
A LOW-TECH PERSONAL HOLOCAUST
Can a country with a repressive government or which has been engulfed by political and social chaos go directly to a multi party democracy? It is possible but difficult a shown by the struggles of Taiwan, Korea, The genocidaires achieved a "kill rate" of 1,000 people in 20 minutes, outdoing the Nazis Iraq, Argentina, Chile, Russia, and the former communist in their ghastly efficiency. The planners of the genocide agreed on a system of communications that would work "under the radar screen": whistles, runners, and secret countries of eastern Europe. People in Uganda who meetings. remember the terrible regimes of Idi Amin and Milton Obote Some of the killers revelled in their atrocities. Their victims were often neighbors, are grateful for the less than students, patients, and parishioners. Sometimes the victims were family members. democratic but stable Children would be killed in front of their parents. The genocidaires sometimes forced their victims to kill before they themselves were killed. Parents would be required to kill government of Musaveni. In their own children. Neighbor would be required to kill neighbor. Friend would be required an April, 2006 article in the to kill friend. A large part of the populace was either incited, deputized, or forced to kill. L.A. Times several Iraqis were reported as having voiced the wish that a "benevolent It was a genocide of horrifying savagery and cruelty. Some victims were killed slowly. strongman" -- anyone short of First the tendons in their legs would be cut so that they could not run away. Then an Sadam Hussein -- would seize arm would be severed and the victim left for a while. The killers would then return and power and restore order. severe another limb. The purpose was to intensify the cruelty of the death and prolong
Unlike the industrialized Holocaust engineered by the Nazis, Rwanda was a person-toperson genocide. Small arms imported from countries such as Egypt, South Africa, and Poland were used in the attacks. Farm implements were used to kill. But it is the infamous machetes (one for every three Hutu males) that are forever identified with the horror of the slaughter. The killing occurred face-to-face. The killers were often spattered with the blood of their victims.
the suffering in a "passionate desire to destroy not only the body but the soul of the victim before ending their life ...." Sibomana, Hope for Rwanda, p. 69
"A three-year-old child who The Rwandan genocide involved rape and murder on a massive scale. The following eye- had just seen his siblings killed, pleaded with the witness descriptions from General Dallaire, the Commander of UNAMIR, are haunting. attackers to spare his life: You may not want to read them to students. You may not want to read them yourself: 'Please don't kill me. . . . I'll "We drove by abandoned check-points ringed with corpses, sometimes beheaded never be Tutsi again'. But the and dumped like rubbish, sometimes stacked meticulously beside neat piles of killers, unblinking, struck him heads. Many corpses rapidly decayed into blinding white skeletons in the hot down." Power, The Problem sun.... from Hell, pg 334.
"We saw many faces of death during the genocide, from the innocence of babies to the bewilderment of the elderly, from the defiance of fighters to the resigned stares of nuns. I saw so many faces and try now to remember each one. Early on I seemed to develop a screen between me and the sights and sounds to allow Some Tutsis paid the Interahamwe to shoot them me to stay focused on the work to be done.... "... [I]f you looked, you could see the evidence [of rape, torture and mutilation] even in the whitened skeletons. The legs bent apart. A broken bottle, a rough branch, even a knife between them. Where the bodies were fresh, we saw what must have been semen pooled on and near the dead women and girls. There was always a lot of blood. Some male corpses had their genitals cut off ... many women and young girls had their breasts chopped off and their genitals crudely cut apart. They died in a position of total vulnerability, flat on their backs with their legs bent and knees wide apart. It was the expressions on their dead faces
instead of hacking them to death.
How do you face down a killer? Read the autobiography of Paul Rusesabagina, An Ordinary Man, pp. 88 - 91 and
118 - 120. Should Mr. that assaulted me the most, a frieze of shock, pain, and humiliation. For many years after I came home, I banished the memories of those faces from my mind, Rusesabagina have kept up his friendships with men in the but they have come back, all too clearly." Shake Hands with the Devil, p. 430. Hutu Army or the militia? He
General Dallaire also describes a trip he took to RPF territory to see General Kagame. At contends that it saved his life that point the RPF had not yet reached the capital Kigali and Dallaire had to cross a river and the refugees at the Mille to get to Kagame's headquarters. Collines, Ibid, p. 128 - 131.
"... The RPF engineers had constructed a pontoon-type bridge that light pickup trucks could cross gingerly. Getting out of my vehicle, I noticed a number of soldiers with long poles upstream, pulling bloated bodies up on the bank. To me this was now such a commonplace sight it did not penetrate my protective screen.
" I did not want to risk our vehicles on the bridge. As we made our way across on foot, I noticed that clothes were caught between the struts of the floating base and I stopped to look over the side. Staring up at me were the faces of half-nude corpses, stuck under the bridge. There were a lot of them. In some places they had accumulated to the point that we were actually walking on a bridge of dead bodies. On the far bank, soldiers were trying to pry them loose for fear that their weight would pull the bridge apart. The screen shattered, my stomach heaved and I struggled for composure. I couldn't bear the movements of the bridge, up and down on the slaughtered hundreds. Dallaire, Shake Hands With the Devil p. 431.
As Michael Barnett says:
"The genocide was executed with a brutality and sadism that defy imagination. Eyewitnesses were in denial. They believed that the high-pitched screams they were hearing were wind gusts, that the packs of dogs at the roadside were feeding on animal remains and not dismembered corpses, that the smells enveloping them emanated from spoiled food and not decomposing bodies. One is reminded of Primo Levi's observation about the Holocaust: 'things whose existence is not morally comprehensible cannot exist.'" Eyewitness to a Genocide,
More than 300 children younger than 18 years of age were accused of killing people in the genocide. At least 100,000 Tutsi or children from moderate Hutu families were orphaned by the genocide or kidnapped and taken from their parents. Melvern, A People Betrayed, p. 222
Michael Barnett, p. 1.
If you believe that we are all capable of doing what one individual or one group of people has done, then we must look deeply into the reality and the mystery of this unspeakable horror to figure out what constraints must be put into place so that it never In his April, 2006 lecture in happens again; or if it does, that we, humankind, can at least cut it short and ameliorate Los Angeles Paul its impact. Rusesabagina said, "In
Rwanda when you offer someone drink or food and you sit next to him and look In 1994 several international crises absorbed the attention of world leaders. In addition, him in the eye and ask him for Rwanda's fate did not affect the interests of any world power. It has no oil, nor does it something, it is impossible for have iron, steel, diamonds, or other natural resources. Its location is not strategic. him to refuse."
There were many risks to intervention. U.S. and Pakistani peacekeepers had recently been killed in Somalia. (Dead U.S. soldiers had been dragged through the streets of Mogadishu.) In Rwanda there was an ongoing civil war and a real possibility that international troops would get caught in a cross-fire. (Several members of General Dallaire's UNAMIR force were in fact killed by weapons aimed at opponents in the civil war.) There was no legitimate government to request intervention. Many of the available well trained troops would be from developed countries and would be white. The intervention might then appear to be a colonial venture.
On the side of intervention was the need to protect human life; hundreds of thousands of lives as it turned out. In addition, allowing genocide to occur on any part of the globe reduces the level of national and international political morality. (In contrast, Gandhi's non-violent movement for independence in India raised the level of world-wide political ethics. See Learning Guide to "Gandhi".) As discussed below, relatively few foreign troops, a total of 5,000, would have been enough to stop the genocide.
At one point, Clinton's Secretary of State Warren Christopher, had to pull out a map of Africa to see where Rwanda was. Power, The Problem From Hell, page 352.
Shortly after the genocide, the universal judgment was that the failure to intervene was a great mistake. It was seen as a failure to recognize long-term, important goals in favor of short-term, relatively minor goals. In January 1994, three months before the killings began, General Dallaire sent an urgent coded cable to U.N. headquarters in New York stating that an informant known as "JeanPierre" had reported plans for a systematic extermination of Tutsis and had disclosed the location of hidden stockpiles of weapons to be used in the genocide. President Habyarimana had lost control of the Hutu extremists, whose plans were being finalized under the leadership of Rwandan Army Colonel Theodore Bagosora. Jean-Pierre had also talked about plans to trap and kill Belgian peacekeepers to force the U.N. to withdraw. In his cable, which came to be known as The Dallaire Fax, the Canadian General proposed to raid the weapons caches. Despite the fact that the veracity of the informant was confirmed by the U.N. Secretary General's personal representative in Kigali, U.N. headquarters in New York denied Dallaire permission to raid the caches. Dallaire, Shake Hands With the Devil, pp. 146 - 148. It later turned out that all of Jean-Pierre's information was accurate. The world soon knew that large-scale slaughter was occurring in Rwanda. Joyce Leader, deputy chief of the U.S. Mission in Kigali, recalls that early on the morning after President Habyarimana's plane was shot down, "People were calling me and telling me who was getting killed. I knew they were going door-to-door." She explained to her colleagues at the State Department that "three kinds of killing were going on: casualties in war, politically motivated murder (moderate and opposition Hutu) and genocide."
The Peace Accords are not to blame for the genocide. It was the reaction of Hutu extremists, fearful of losing power and privilege, that caused the problem. In addition, diplomats focused on the Accords, trying to keep them alive even while genocide was occurring. This made them reluctant to further alienate the Rwandan government out of fear that the government would withdraw completely form the Arusha Accords.
Power, Bystanders to Genocide, Atlantic Monthly, September 2001.
As of April 10, General Dallaire was telling the U.N. that the Rwandan Army and the Interahamwe militia were killing anyone with a Tutsi identity card. Ten Belgian peacekeepers had been tortured and killed by the extremists on the first day of the genocide. (Right on schedule according to the plan disclosed by "Jean-Pierre".) When their mutilated bodies were sent home on April 14, Belgium appealed to the U.S. to call for a withdrawal of all peacekeeping forces. Belgium did not want to be seen as the lone country abandoning the Rwandans. General Dallaire, frustrated that his pleas for help were being ignored, cabled the U.N. on April 30th: "Unless the international community acts, it may find it is unable to defend itself against accusations of doing nothing to stop genocide." HR Watch But the international community did not forcefully intervene. "American officials, for a variety of reasons, shunned the use of what became known as 'the g-word.' They felt that using it would have obliged the United States to act, under the terms of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. They also believed, understandably, that it would harm U.S. credibility to name the crime and then do nothing to stop it." A Defense Department memo states that U.S. officials were worried that a "genocide finding could commit [the U.S. government] to actually 'do something.'" Power, Bystanders to Genocide In April General Dallaire also told the U.N. that with 5,000 motivated and experienced
Colonel Bagosora is now on trial before the International War Crimes Tribunal in Arusha. He is not to be confused with Lt. Colonel Bizimungu, who is shown in Hotel Rwanda negotiating with Paul Rusesabagina over the fate of the refugees.
Important Documents: The Dallaire Fax informing the U.N. in January that Hutu
soldiers he could stop the genocide. The soldiers never materialized. Three years after the genocide, the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, Georgetown University, and the U.S. Army made an intensive study of Dallaire's proposal, using a panel of international experts. They determined that, "The hypothetical force described by General Dallaire--at least 5,000 strong, depending on the method of employment, and armed with the equipment and capabilities to employ and sustain a brigade in combat--could have made a significant difference in Rwanda in 1994.... In Rwanda, a window of opportunity for the employment of such a force extended roughly from about April 7 to April 21, 1994, when the political leaders of the violence were still susceptible to international influence. The rapid introduction of robust combat forces, authorized to seize at one time critical points throughout the country, would have changed the political calculations of the participants. The opportunity existed to prevent the killing, to interpose a force between the conventional combatants and reestablish the DMZ [Demilitarized Zone], and to put the negotiations back on track. Additional forces may have been required to solidify the initial success and maintain order." See Preventing Genocide; How the Early Use of Force Might Have Saved Rwanda. Throughout the hundred days of the genocide, General Dallaire repeatedly reported to his superiors what was going on and pleaded for help to stop the genocide. U.N. and international observers came to Rwanda and verified that genocide was occurring. The primary practical response was to reduce UNAMIR to less than 500 troops, not to increase the force levels so that it could effectively intervene. Even when the U.N. belatedly agreed to ask member countries to send the 5,000 troops and the equipment that they would need, nothing significant materialized. For example, the U.S. was to provide the armored personnel carriers for the troops but the Army imposed so many bureaucratic delays that APCs didn't reach Rwanda before the end of the genocide. Had the international community acted promptly, hundreds of thousands, perhaps as many as 500,000 lives could have been saved.
extremists were planning a genocide. See also Bushnell Cable. For more documents, see The US and the Genocide in Rwanda 1994 Evidence of Inaction, William Ferroggiaro, Editor, at the National Security Archive.
"Is it Tutsi and Hutu or Tutu and Hutsi?" questioned a member of Lt General Wesley Clarke's staff after Habyarimana's plane crashed. Power, Bystanders to Genocide, Atlantic Monthly, September 2001.
Interahamwe is roughly translated as "those who fight together"
During the negotiations in Arusha, Rwandan Army Colonel Bagosora walked out saying that he was going back to Rwanda to prepare the second apocalypse. Melvern, A People Betrayed p. 54.
Both movies show clips of Christine Shelley, the State Department spokesperson, twisting herself into a pretzel to avoid using the "g" word:
Reporter: How would you describe the events taking place in Rwanda? State Department Spokesperson: Based on the evidence we have seen from observations on the ground, we have every reason to believe that acts of genocide have occurred in Rwanda.
Reporter: What's the difference between "acts of genocide" and "genocide"?
State Department Spokesperson: Well, I think the—as you know, there's a legal definition of this ... clearly not all of the killings that have taken place in Rwanda are killings to which you might apply that label ... But as to the distinctions between the words, we're trying to call what we have seen so far as best as we can; and based, again, on the evidence, we have every reason to believe that acts of genocide have occurred. Reporter: How many acts of genocide does it take to make genocide? State Department Spokesperson: Alan, that's just not a
question that I'm in a position to answer. This exchange taken from Power, Bystanders to Genocide, Atlantic Monthly, September 2001.
"Any time you mentioned peacekeeping in Africa" said one U.S. official, " the crucifixes and garlic would come up on every door." Power, Bystanders to Genocide Atlantic Monthly, September 2001.
THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA: ITS RESPONSIBILITY As in Nazi Germany, the mass media was used by the extremists to help create the preconditions for genocide. The extremist Hutu paper Kangura ("Wake up!) published its "Ten Commandments of the Hutu" at the end of 1990. The commandments, like Hitler's Nuremberg laws and the precepts of the Bosnia Serbs, smeared and branded the minority (Tutsi) as traitorous, second class citizens, and called for the limitation of their rights. Power, A Problem from Hell pg 338.
The major method of communication between the leaders of the genocidaires and their minions was radio RTLM. Formally called Radio Television Libre Mille Collines, radio RTLM was known in the international community as "Hate Radio." Transistor radios had become cheap and widely available in Rwanda just before the beginning of the genocide. Radio RTLM was financed by Hutu extremists, including President Habyarimana, his wife, and her associates. Radio RTLM incited the Hutu people to exterminate the Inyenzi ("cockroaches"). After the genocide started, RTLM broadcast names and addresses of people who were to be murdered around the clock. "I listened ... " one survivor recalled, "because if you were mentioned over the airways, you were sure to be carted off a short time later by the Interahamwe. You knew you had to change your address at once."
Ironically, Inyenzi was a term coined by the RPF (mainly Tutsi) forces to describe themselves: stealthy and impossible to eradicate. It was later co-opted by the Hutu extremists and used to incite the extermination of all Tutsi.
Power, A Problem from Hell p. 7.
In May some U.S. officials suggested jamming RTLM broadcasts. The responses ranged from "too difficult technically" to "too expensive" to "we can't interfere with free speech, especially in another country." However, the International War Crimes Tribunal has ruled that RTLM managers and announcers were guilty of crimes against humanity. Inciting The Guilt of the Press and the and facilitating genocide is not protected speech. Intelligentsia: André The international media could have been instrumental in stopping the genocide. Dallaire was acutely aware of the importance of the media. When the expatriates were being evacuated, he persuaded a BBC reporter to stay by allowing him to live in the U.N. compound, guaranteeing him protection, and promising him a story a day. Dallaire, Shake Hands with the Devil, p. 332. Samantha Power quotes Dallaire as saying: "A reporter with a line to the West was worth a battalion on the ground," and, "at that point, the journalists were really all I had". Poynter Online. But some reporters fell into the same trap as the diplomats who specialized in Africa, interpreting the violence as one more
Sibomana pointed out that "Intellectuals bear an overwhelming share of responsibility. The ideologues of the genocide were not unemployed young men from [the slums of Kigali] but highly intelligent people who had studied at the best universities in Europe or the
manifestation of ancient tribal hatreds, rather than a new phenomenon created by extremist politicians. Power, A Problem from Hell pp. 355 - 56.
WHAT MAKES A GENOCIDE? A genocide is the effort to exterminate an entire ethnic group, culture or race by murder, sterilization, rape, relocation, etc. A genocide is never accidental. It is always planned, and requires a hierarchy of command to execute. (In the case of Rwanda, the extremist Hutu government and its sympathizers probably began planning the 1994 genocide years before it occurred.) It requires a ruthless government which can crush and silence opposition, rally an efficient killing force, identify the target group, manipulate the media and parry any thrusts of intervention from the outside world. It requires people who are willing to kill and many good people who stand by and do nothing. Are cultures and races of people analogous to species of animals? Many people would say that the death of an individual wild animal is regrettable, but the annihilation of an entire species of animal or plant is something we must work to avoid in the name of biodiversity. Differentiating genocide from large scale massacre and murder infers that we do place a special value on maintaining the human cultural/ethnic equivalent of biodiversity. Extinction, cultural or biological, is forever. WHAT WAS THE RECIPE FOR GENOCIDE IN RWANDA? The sine qua non for genocide is people willing to kill: to hack others apart with a machete; to pull the trigger of a gun; to finger someone for the genocidaires. However, it is also true that there are conditions and forces which lead people to abandon their morality and embrace evil. After all, the vast majority of Rwandans (93.6%) claim to be Christians. CIA Factbook Article on Rwanda What happened? Background Conditions:
o o o o
Historical class/caste divisions and grievances based on the Tutsi role as overlords of the Hutu; this was exacerbated and institutionalized by the "divide and rule" policy of the Belgian colonists; Poverty and overpopulation (only Bangladesh has a greater population density than Rwanda); contraception was effectively banned in Rwanda; Tightly organized and controlled communities; A subservient population used to following orders; A culture of impunity (a society without the rule of law) which tolerated powerful or agressive people taking what they wanted without any consequences. (Paul Rusesabagina described it this way: "I am convinced that one of the strongest engines of the Rwandan genocide was the culture of impunity that was allowed to flourish after the revolution against the colonists began in 1959. Rwandans killed their neighbors just to take their houses, people killed people for their banana trees, people leaped over the counters of abandoned general stores and started selling the merchandise as if they were the rightful owners." These activities went on without the perpetrators being called to account. Rusesabagina & Zoellner, An Ordinary Man p. 198; André Sibomana also noted the culture of impunity and its role in the genocide. See Sibomana, Hope for Rwanda, p. 105).
"The other thing you have to understand was that the message [from Radio RTLM and other media outlets] crept into our national consciousness very slowly. It did not happen all at once. We did not wake up one morning to hear it pouring out of the radio at full strength. It started with a sneering comment, the casual use of the term 'cockroach,' the almost humorous suggestion that the Tutsis should be airmailed back to Ethiopia. Stripping the humanity from an entire group takes time. It is an attitude that requires cultivation, a series of small steps, daily tending. I suppose it is like the famous example of the frog who will immediately leap out of a pot of boiling water if you toss him into it, but put it in cold water and turn up the heat gradually, and he will die in boiling water without being aware of what happened." Rusesabagina & Zoellner, An Ordinary Man, p. 64.
It's easy for those of us who live safe and secure lives to judge those who participated
in the genocide of 1994. Many, perhaps even most of the genocidaires, deserve our moral condemnation. However, it is also true that The perception of the Tutsi as "other" and less than human, as vermin you never know what you will ("cockroaches") to be exterminated; do until you are tested. Those A despotic government comprised of extremists determined to maintain power at of us who live safe and secure in peaceful communities can any cost and capable of meticulously planning mass killing; only hope that if put to the An exiled Tutsi rebel force invading from Uganda, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) which the extremists used to stir up the fears of the populace; Hutu Power test, we would respond in an ethical manner. claimed that the goal of the RPF was to exterminate the Hutu;
o o o
A ready supply of jobless young men who didn't see any future for themselves who were recruited into the Interahamwe; Hate Radio, the chatty and entertaining RTLM, which debuted on the airwaves in June of 1993 and spread the poison of hatred until the RPF pulled the plug in July of 1994; France's Assistance to the Habyarimana government, including the officers who trained the Interahamwe militias. Although the first language of all Rwandans is Kinyarwanda, France was in favor of maintaining the French speaking, or Francophone, government. The Tutsi rebels had grown up in Anglophone (English speaking) Uganda; Egyptian, South African and Polish arms dealers willing to sell arms; and International aid money (siphoned off to buy weapons for the genocide). It all happened as if those who
committed the genocide were submerged in a hatred which had been contained for a long Paul Rusesabagina wrote: time. ... Where did it come I will never forget walking out of my house the first day of the killings. There from, this hatred of others? I were people in the streets who I had known seven years, neighbors of mine who can only explain it by an had come over to our place for our regular Sunday cookouts. These people were insurmountable hatred of wearing military uniforms that had been handed out by the militia. They were one's self. Indeed some killers holding machetes and were trying to get inside the houses of those they knew to committed suicide after they had killed.... After several be Tutsi, those who had Tutsi relatives, or those who refused to go along with days of this horrific bloodbath, the murders. Rusesabagina & Zoellner, An Ordinary Man, p. xiv. the killers went completely Mr. Rusesabagina describes a neighbor, about thirty years old. "Peter was just a cool mad. Politics, ethnic divisions, guy; so nice to children, very gentle, kind of a kidder, but never mean with his humor." the war, none of this even entered their minds. That night Peter killed his neighbors with a machete. Rusesabagina asks why, and Sibomana, Hope for Rwanda, proposes an answer, p. 69.
. . . Very simply: words.
The parents of these people had been told over and over again that they were uglier and stupider than the Tutsis. They were told they would never be as physically attractive or as capable of running the affairs of the country. It was a poisonous stream of rhetoric designed to reinforce the power of the elite. When the Hutus came to power they spoke evil words of their own, fanning the old resentments, exciting the hysterical dark places in the heart. Ibid. He points to the words of the broadcasts of "hate radio RTLM" and how at first it limited itself to ethnic jokes at the expense of the Tutsi. It then stressed long standing Hutu grievances against the Tutsi and stirred up fears that the RPF invaders would triumph and dispossess the Hutu. Step by step it grew more radical until it denied the Tutsis' humanity and urged the Hutu populace to kill every Tutsi, including friends and relatives.
The avalanche of words celebrating racial supremacy and encouraging people to do their duty [kill Tutsis] created an alternate reality in Rwanda for those three months. It was an atmosphere where the insane was made to seem normal and disagreement with the mob was fatal. Rwanda was a failure on so many levels. It started as a failure of the European colonists who exploited trivial differences for the sake of a divide and rule strategy. It was the failure of Africa to get beyond its ethnic divisions and form true coalition governments. It was a failure of the Western democracies to step in and avert the catastrophe when abundant evidence was available. It was a failure of the United States for not calling a genocide by its right name. It was the failure of the United Nations to live up to its commitments as a peacemaking body. All of these come down to a failure of words. And this is what I want to tell you: Words are the most effective weapons of death in man's arsenal. But they can also be powerful tools of life. They may be the only ones. Today I am convinced that the only thing that saved those 1,268 people in my hotel was words. ... just ordinary words directed against the darkness.... I used words in many ways during the genocide -- to plead, intimidate, coax, cajole, and negotiate. I was slippery and evasive when I needed to be. I acted friendly toward despicable people. I put cartons of champagne in their car trunks. I flattered them shamelessly. I said whatever I thought it would take to keep the people in my hotel from being killed. .... Id at pp. xiv - xvi.
OTHER HEROES Many of the U.N. peacekeepers acted heroically to save lives during the genocide. Particularly stalwart were the units from Ghana and Tunisia. Officers from several other countries attached to the U.N. mission also acted heroically. Prohibited by civilian authorities at the U.N. from firing their guns except to protect their own lives, UNAMIR soldiers placed their bodies between the genocidaires and people who needed protection. At times they would have to pull and kick the killers from their intended victims. Individuals like Phillipe Gaillard of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the U.N. Force Commandeer commander LT General Roméo Dallaire went to heroic lengths to save Rwandans.
In April the Belgian UNAMIR contingent was ordered out of the country by Belgium's civilian leaders. The Belgian commander refused the order three times before he finally complied. He was responding to the extreme situation in Rwanda and to the craven Senegalese Captain Mbaye Diagne, a peacekeeper serving under General Dallaire, was a nature of the order. However, charismatic man whose official position was liaison between the Rwandan armed forces military officers must always and the U.N. This provided him with an excuse to move around Kigali. He charmed, obey lawful orders from their bantered, and bribed his way through roadblocks to save lives a few at a time. He saved civilian leaders and he should the children of the Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana who was killed by the Rwandan have left sooner. There is a Army in the first hours of the genocide. Captain Diagne, a devout Muslim, is thought to saying in the U.S. military that you get only one chance to have rescued hundreds of people. His actions were contrary to UNAMIR's rules of challenge an order that you engagement. General Dallaire knew what Captain Diagne was doing, but took no steps think is wrong or ill-advised; to stop him. Unfortunately, Captain Diagne was killed by an RPF mortar as he tried to only one, "But, sir ...."
negotiate his way through a government military checkpoint. This occurred just as his unit prepared to leave the country. Captain Diagne was aided by his companion Captain Senyo of Ghana, who also plucked refugees from their houses and found a safe haven
Should General Dallaire have ignored the orders from the
for them. See PBS Frontline: Memories of Captain Mbaye Diagne and Rusesabagina & Zoellner,
civilian leaders at the U.N. and gone after the weapons caches or attacked the genocidaires? The answer is An exception to the dismal record of Rwandan clerics in staying quiet, sometimes clearly no. Military officers are defending the genocidaires, and even participating in the genocide, was Felicitas not elected or selected Niyitegeka, a Hutu member of the religious congregation of the Auxiliaires de l'Apostolat. through a political process Human Rights Watch describes her heroism: which is designed to express . . . [S]he had given shelter to many Tutsi in Gisenyi since the start of the the will of the people. While genocide and had helped them across the border to Zaire. Her brother, Col. the U.N.'s orders to Dallaire Alphonse Nzungize, who commanded the nearby Bigogwe military camp, heard were probably ill-conceived that she was threatened with death for her work and asked her to give it up. She and contributed to the deaths refused. On April 21 she was taken to a cemetery for execution with forty-three of many people, the problems caused by military officers persons, including other religious sisters and Tutsi who had sought refuge with making policy decisions is so them. Once there, militia members who feared retaliation from her brother great that the principle of offered her the chance to leave. She refused to abandon the others. They civilian control is essential to democracy. An example is the repeated the offer after they had slain thirty people. She still refused and was successful NATO intervention shot and thrown naked with the others into the common grave. When her in Kosovo spearheaded by the brother heard the news, he went to find her body and had it dressed and U.S. President Clinton properly buried. Human Rights Watch. pushed the Kosovo intervention through despite doubts from many in the U.S. DALLAIRE'S STORY: -- POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD) AMONG SOLDIERS military that it could be successfully accomplished. An Ordinary Man, pp. 124 & 125.
The character of Colonel Oliver in "Hotel Rwanda" is modeled on the Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), Lt. General Roméo Dallaire. General Dallaire told the U.N. headquarters in New York about the government's planning for genocide in January, months before it occurred. He appealed repeatedly to the U.N. and the international community for troops and equipment to stop the killing. Instead of increasing his forces, the U.N. reduced his command by 80% to 450 soldiers. All of his pleas were ignored until the RPF won the civil war and millions of Hutu refugees were streaming into neighboring countries. It was only then that the West acted, mounting significant humanitarian aid efforts. General Dallaire and his truncated force of peacekeepers saved about 30,000 lives by stationing small groups of blue helmeted soldiers outside a stadium and a few other places where Tutsis were taking shelter. It did not take much to turn back the machetewielding Interahamwe. Hundreds of thousands more could have been saved had the U.N. sent the troops Dallaire requested.
Don Cheadle, adding his voice to the calls for decisive action to stop the genocide in Darfur, said: "I don't want to make "Hotel Darfur."
Dallaire left Rwanda shortly after the RPF victory. His experiences in Rwanda had shaken him to the core. In A Problem from Hell -- America and the age of Genocide, Samantha Power describes Dallaire's revelations and mental state in the aftermath of his deployment:
The genocide in Rwanda cost Roméo Dallaire a great deal. It is both paradoxical and natural that the man who probably did the most to save Rwandans feels the worst. By August 1994 Dallaire had a death wish. 'At the end of my command, I drove around in my vehicle with no escort practically looking for ambushes,' Dallaire recalls. 'I was trying to get myself destroyed and looking to get released See Witness To Evil: Roméo from the guilt.'" Dallaire and Rwanda for many
Haunted by memories of the gruesome deaths of countless innocent civilians, Dallaire was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) about two years after the
film and audio clips of General Dallaire and of Rwanda at the time.
genocide. Years of psychological care and medication followed. Dallaire was the first high-ranking military officer to go public with PTSD. On a video made to help fellow soldiers cope with their battlefield experiences, he explained that "Sometimes I wish I'd lost a leg instead of having all those grey cells screwed up. You lose a leg, it's obvious and you've got therapy and all kind of stuff. You lose your marbles, very difficult to explain, very difficult to gain that support that you need." Information Overload Bulletin 2001 A prosecutor recalled that in 1998 when the General testified at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda his military demeanor began to crack shortly after he began to testify. Dallaire said that he found it difficult to return to the details of the genocide: "I had the sense of the smell of the slaughter in my nose and I don't know how it, appeared but there was all of a sudden this sudden rush to my brain and to my senses . . . Maybe with time, it will hurt less." Shake Hands with the Devil, by Romeo Dallaire, forward by Samantha Power, pg. xv, 2005.
For more on General Dallaire's leadership, see Leadership in General Dallaire was forced to retire from the Canadian military due to his PTSD and his the Canadian Armed Forces -refusal to refrain from criticizing the international community for its failure to stop the Conceptual Foundations and Rwandan genocide. He has continued to work to stop genocide. In 2002, he received the LAW OF ARMED CONFLICT AT first Aegis Award for genocide prevention in London. His book Shake Hands with the THE OPERATIONAL LEVEL Devil won the prestigious Canadian Governor General's Literary Award in 2004 and was RWANDA AND AN UNLAWFUL ORDER By Colonel B. W. a best seller in Canada for a short time. In 2004-05 he served as a Fellow at the Carr MacLeod, a paper submitted Center for Human Rights at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. to the Canadian Armed Forces College.
DOES RWANDA HAVE A FUTURE? How Does A Society Recover from Genocide? How can a society recover from the horror of genocide when the perpetrators and the survivors live side by side? No one knows the answer. There are perhaps three key components. First, the people and those in power must recognize that continuing the way things are is much worse than the pain of giving up their old prejudices and hatreds. From this will come a determination to do what it takes to find the causes and make sure that the genocide does not happen again. Second, there must be some semblance of justice for both the victims and the survivors or a South African style "truth and reconciliation" process. Third, the flaws in society that permitted the genocide to occur must be rectified. For Rwanda, this means embracing the rule of law and eliminating the culture of impunity. It means wiping out the distinctions between Tutsi and Hutu, with equal opportunity for all.
THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT -- HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION IN THE 21ST CENTURY
What should the international community do when faced with catastrophic human rights violations within nation states?
In 1999, even though Russia's veto prevented the U.N. Security Council from authorizing the use of force, the United States spearheaded a NATO intervention in Kosovo to prevent ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Muslim ethnic Albanian population. President Clinton, understanding that his leadership had failed in Rwanda, pushed this intervention through despite doubts of the U.S. military. Under the leadership of General
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The hotel depicted in "Hotel Rwanda" is the "Hotel Mille Collines." It is still in operation today under new owners. "Mille Collines" was also the name of the hate radio station RTLM (Radio Television Libre Mille Collines). "Mille Collines" means "a thousand hills" in French. Rwanda is often referred to by its people as the land of the "Mille Collines."
Wesley Clark, in conjunction with its NATO allies, the U.S. stopped the genocide. Kosovo demonstrated that the international community could effectively act in concert to stop human rights abuses. Gareth Evans was Foreign Minister of Australia from 1988 to 1996 and is presently (as of 2006) President and Chief Executive of the International Crisis Group. This organization works to prevent international conflict. In an article published in the Los Angeles Times, The Dogs That Never Barked, Mr. Evans cited many successes of international peacekeeping as of 2005. He reported that the "number of mass killings has fallen 80% since the late 1980s .... And around the world, there has been a spectacular increase in the number of civil conflicts resolved - as in Indonesia's separatist Aceh province [in 2004] - not by force but by negotiation." He gave primary credit to "the huge increase in international efforts to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts." Mr. Evans noted that descriptions of the extensive international diplomatic efforts necessary for these successes are usually not reported on the evening news but they are nonetheless important. Other examples cited by Mr. Gareth include: the successful presidential election in Liberia in 2005 (a country that in the decade before 2005 suffered a devastating civil war that was rife with human rights abuses), diplomatic efforts that prevented a new civil war from erupting in Somalia, and the work of peacekeepers in Sierre Leone. One of the largest obstacles to an effective system of international intervention to protect human rights is the concept of national sovereignty, i.e., the exclusive right of a nation to exercise supreme authority over its people and its physical territory. Traditionally, governments, even totalitarian dictatorships that retained power by force, have had the right to deal with their citizens as they saw fit. There was no recognized right of outsiders to intervene. International law develops through experience and by following the practice of governments. The condemnation heaped on the U.S., Belgium, France, and the U.N. for failing to intervene to stop the killing in Rwanda showed that respect for national sovereignty would no longer excuse the failure to protect a people from genocide sponsored by the government in power. The 1999 Kosovo intervention showed that: (1) governments can sacrifice their right to sovereignty by committing genocide against groups within their borders; (2) the international community can act together in stopping that genocide; and (3) international cooperation to stop genocide will be hailed as a great success even if national sovereignty is sacrificed. Following the practice of nations and most particularly what occurred in Kosovo, efforts have been made to replace the concept of sovereignty with the "responsibility to protect" ("R2P"). This is a national and international imperative that requires governments to protect minorities at risk and justifies international action against governments that fail to fulfill their responsibilities. (Applying R2P to the Kosovo crisis in 1999, the Serb dominated Yugoslav government was persecuting its Muslim ethnic Albanian citizens. It thereby forfeited any right to object to international intervention. As a result of the ongoing human rights abuses in Kosovo, the international community had a responsibility to intervene, even when the U.N. refused to act.) Building primarily on the actions of the international community in Kosovo the R2P was first enunciated in 2001 by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. It is expressed as a continuum of obligations composed of: (1) the responsibility to prevent human rights abuses, met by addressing the causes of internal conflict and other manmade crises; (2) the responsibility to react to human rights abuses, fulfilled when situations of compelling human need are ameliorated; measures encompassed in the
"responsibility to react" include coercive measures such as sanctions, prosecution of wrongdoers, and in an extreme situation, military intervention; and (3) the responsibility to rebuild after coercive action, to help a nation recover if there have been sanctions, military intervention, or other coercive action. The concept of R2P has come a long way toward acceptance since 2001 and parts of it have been adopted in various U.N. reports and resolutions. (For a description of these events, see From Humanitarian Intervention to the Responsibility to Protect, a speech by Mr. Evans to the Symposium on Humanitarian Intervention, University of Wisconsin, Madison, March 31, 2006.) However, time will tell if this new concept will help the international community ignore the "sovereign" right of nations and permit the international community to intervene to stop genocide. Discussion Questions:
QUICK DISCUSSION QUESTION FOR "HOTEL RWANDA": At the beginning of the movie, the character of the hotel manager is unwilling to use some of the favors he has stockpiled to help a neighbor. By the end of the movie his attitude was different. When did this change begin and what caused it? OTHER DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: GENERAL QUESTIONS 2. What is a "culture of impunity" and how does it relate to the "rule of law"? 3. Could the Rwandan genocide have been stopped? 4. Who is to blame for the Rwandan genocide of 1994? 5. What is necessary for a genocide? 6. Can genocide happen by accident? 7. Should the U.S. have taken the lead in getting the international community to intervene to stop the Rwandan genocide? 8. What is the concept of national sovereignty and what is R2P? 9. Can a country with a repressive government or which has been engulfed by political and social chaos go directly to a multi-party democracy or must they go through transitional stages which fall short of full representative democracy? 10. The genocidaires have been treated well in the prison run by the International Criminal Tribunal. They receive adequate food. They are allowed to pray. If they are ill they receive medicine. This is much more than they gave their victims and, in fact, they are living better than many innocent people in Rwanda. Should they be treated this well?
11. Are the international tribunals in Arusha, which are prosecuting only a few highprofile genocidaires, just a way for the international community to wash its hands and pretend that justice has been done? 12. How does a society move forward from a genocide? 13. European colonial powers held sway over large populations with a small number of troops through technological superiority and the strategy of "divide and rule." The Belgians pursued this strategy in Rwanda and the English ruled through division in some of their colonies. What is "divide and rule" and how was it used in Rwanda and India? QUESTIONS RELATING TO "HOTEL RWANDA" PRE-VIEWING QUESTION - The first question below will help students focus on one of the themes of the film as they view it. Ask the question before the film and let students answer it afterwards. 14. At the beginning of the film, the character of the hotel manager comes home and the children at his house are playing a game. He initially asks, "Who is the winner?" He then answers his own question, "It doesn't matter, I have chocolates" which he then passes out to all of the children. What does this show about the hotel manager and how does it foreshadow what he does in the movie? 15. According to the Rwandan journalist in the movie, what are the differences between the Hutus and the Tutsis? Was his description accurate? 16. What was the role of the radio in the genocide? 17. What does the bearded reporter say to Paul's belief that people around the world would act when they see the footage of the murders? What do you think he means? 18. What tactics does the hotel manager use to keep the hotel open and the people there safe? 19. In the movie, a genocidaire offered to let the hotel manager have a few Tutsis of his own in exchange for turning over the rest of his neighbors and friends. What did the hotel manager do? 20. When he finds out that the European soldiers are there only to take the foreign nationals of out Rwanda, Colonel Oliver tells the hotel manager that "The West, all the superpowers, everything you believe in, Paul. They think you're dirt. They think you're dumb. You're worthless." He goes on to say, "You're the smartest man here. You got'em eating out of your hands. You could own this hotel, except for one thing ... You're black. You're not even a nigger, you're African. They're not gonna stay, Paul. They're not gonna stop the slaughter." What did Captain Oliver mean by saying to the hotel manager that he was not even a "nigger"? 21. At the beginning of the movie, the hotel manager talks to his assistant about the importance of style. What role did style have in saving the Tutsi and moderate Hutu who had sought refuge in the Hotel Mille Collines? 22. What were the similarities between Paul Rusesabagina and Oscar Schindler?
23. Did the hotel manager do the right thing by staying at the hotel and not leaving with his wife and children on the first attempt to get them out?
COURAGE 2. How did the character of the hotel manager in "Hotel Rwanda" display courage?
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3. Is it realistic to expect that a soldier who endures horrific experiences in war will emerge emotionally unscathed? Moral-Ethical Emphasis Discussion Questions (Character Counts) 1. Both the citizen who killed his Tutsi neighbor with a machete and the government leader who convinced his people to do the killing but did not kill anyone himself are criminals. Who commits the greater wrong?
RESPECT (Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule; Be tolerant of differences; Use good manners, not bad language; Be considerate of the feelings of others; Don't threaten, hit or hurt anyone; Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements) 2. Are the genocidaires, the ordinary people who took up machetes and killed their neighbors, and the leaders who encouraged the genocide deserving of any respect at all? CITIZENSHIP (Do your share to make your school and community better; Cooperate; Stay informed; vote; Be a good neighbor; Obey laws and rules; Respect authority; Protect the environment) 3. Some of the genocidaires may have thought that they were doing their patriotic duty and protecting themselves by killing their neighbors. (This doesn't account for the atrocities.) The communists in Cuba who persecute people for being counterrevolutionary believe that they are being patriotic. In the United States there have been times when, in the interest of patriotism, the rights of citizens have been abused. An example is the excesses of the McCarthyite era or when Japanese Americans were interned during the Second World War. Should ethics limit patriotism? Bridges to Reading: Three personal memoirs offer the most engaging reading on the genocide for high school students:
An Ordinary Man -- An Autobiography, by Paul Rusesabagina with Tom Zoellner, Viking Penguin, The Penguin Group, New York, New York, April 2006; this is a
MOVIES ON RELATED TOPICS: A PBS Documentary which can be obtained from some libraries is "Front Line: The Triumph of Evil." This film
fascinating and outstanding book; Mr. Rusesabagina shows that he is wise as well as courageous; his memoir has much to say to people of any nation; Shake Hands with the Devil; The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, Lt General Roméo Dallaire, The Avalon Group, New York, New York, 2005; this book was Winner of the 2004 Canadian Governor General's Literary Award for Nonfiction; Surviving the Slaughter; The ordeal of a Rwandan refugee in Zaire, by Marie Beatrice Umutesi, Translated by Julia Emerson, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin, 2004;
Other interesting books include: (The first two books are literary treatments of the ruinous encounters of colonialists and missionaries who invade the Congo.)
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describes the genocide and the inadequate response of the Western powers. It contains footage shot from about 1000 feet showing people being hacked to death with machetes and of people, who most likely were later killed, begging for protection from white soldiers sent to extricate foreign nationals (almost always white). The film is 60 minutes. The current PBS documentary on sale is 120 minutes and is called "Ghosts of Rwanda."
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad; The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver; Speak Rwanda by Julian R. Sparks and Ejo: poems, Rwanda, 1991-1994 by Derick Burleson, Madison; University of Wisconsin Press, c2000; Eyewitness to a Genocide; the United Nations and Rwanda by Michael Barnett, Cornell University Press, 2002; Leave None to Tell the Story by Allison Des Forges; A People Betrayed; The Role of the West in Rwanda's Genocide by Linda Melvern, Zed Books Ltd, London and New York 2000; We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families: stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch, New York : Picador USA : Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1999; A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide Samantha Power; New York : Basic Books, c2002; Hope for Rwanda: Conversations with Laure Guilbert and Herve Deguine by André Sibomana, Pluto Press London, England and Sterling, Virginia 1999; Hotel Rwanda, Bringing the True Story of an African Hero to Film Edited by Terry George, (director of the film). The book contains the script to the film and the to the PBS Frontline Documentary, "The Triumph of Evil" and several articles on the Rwandan genocide; and Journey Into Darkness: Genocide in Rwanda Thomas P. Odom; foreword by Dennis J. Reimer. College Station, Texas A&M University Press, c2005. OTHER LESSON PLANS:
Links to the Internet: o
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PBS Web Site for "The Triumph of Evil". This site contains interviews with the participants and scholars, a time line, texts of official documents, and many other materials; PBS Web Site for the Ghosts of Rwanda; Captain Mbaye Diagne; Wikipedia Article on the Rwandan Genocide; Wikipedia Article on Paul Rusesabagina; Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda; a comprehensive site from Human Rights Watch;
Lesson Plan at the Official Movie Web Site;
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National Security Archive -- The US and the Genocide in Rwanda 1994 Evidence of Inaction; this site contains links to many original documents generated by the U.S. government during the crisis; CIA Factbook Article on Rwanda; The Responsibility to Protect, an article by Garth Evans on the PBS web site; International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; U.S. Department of State Report on Rwanda; Web Site for the Movie from United Artists; Amnesty International Library of Articles; search on Rwanda; UNHCR The UN Refugee Agency; search for articles on Rwanda; Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation; AllAfrica.com provides news about the continent; Hate Radio: Rwanda; for excerpts of the announcements from Radio RTLM; Bystanders to Genocide by Samantha Power for the Atlantic Monthly; Ethnicity as Myth: The View from Central Africa; and Genocide in Rwanda: Fundamental Questions from the Irish Peace Society.