In 2004, the Academy Award-nominated movie Hotel Rwanda lionized hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina for single-handedly saving the lives of all who sought refuge in the Hotel des Mille Collines during Rwanda’s genocide against the Tutsi in 1994. Because of the film, the real-life Rusesabagina has been compared to Oskar Schindler, but unbeknownst to the public, the hotel’s refugees do not endorse Rusesabagina’s version of the events.
In the wake of Hotel Rwanda’s international success, Rusesabagina is one of the most well-known Rwandans and now the smiling face of the very Hutu Power groups who drove the genocide. He is accused by the Rwandan prosecutor general of being a genocide negationist and funding the terrorist group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
For the first time, learn what really happened inside the walls of Hotel des Mille Collines.
In Inside the Hotel Rwanda, survivor Edouard Kayihura tells his own personal story of what life was really like during those harrowing days within the walls of that infamous hotel and offers the testimonies of others who survived there, from Hutu and Tutsi to UN peacekeepers. Kayihura writes of a divided society and his journey to the place he believed would be safe from slaughter.
The book exposes the Hollywood hero of the film Hotel Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina, as a profiteering and politically ambitious Hutu Power sympathizer who extorted money from those who sought refuge, threatening to send those who did not pay to the génocidaires, despite pleas from the hotel’s corporate ownership to stop.
Inside the Hotel Rwanda is at once a memoir, a critical deconstruction of a heralded Hollywood movie alleged to be factual, and a political analysis aimed at exposing a falsely created hero using his fame to be a political force, spouting the same ethnic apartheid that caused the genocide two decades ago.
Kayihura’s Inside the Hotel Rwanda offers an honest and unflinching first-hand account of the reality of life inside the hotel, exposing the man who exploited refugees and shedding much-needed light on the plight of his victims.
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Possibly true details become a rant
The genocide in Rwanda is still almost incomprehensible as an act of pure evil and the resilience of those left behind in the aftermath has allowed the country to rebuild to an amazing extent. This particular book seems to be a continual rant about how Paul Rusesabagina has profited or been given credit for things that he should not have been credit for. The author obviously has first hand knowledge of this terrible occurrence, and has finally had his say, but I found the story to almost rise to the level of a diatribe against one man rather than against the entire group of Hutus that perpetuated the killings.
This is not an enjoyable subject in any way, read for information and insight more than enjoyment.
To continue to be amazed at the resiliency of the human heart - individually and collectively - as the Tusti people who returned to their neighborhoods made such sacrifices to forgive the neighbors who slaughtered their families. How do people start again after living through these atrocities and how can this be prevented in the future - or even now as it is in places such as the Sudan?
- Jessie Bindy