12. THE REAL HOTEL RWANDA
One of the places I wanted to see on the Rwanda visit was the real hotel on which the movie "Hotel Rwanda" was based. The photo above shows the front of la Hotel des Mille Collines (the Thousand Hills Hotel) which is its real name. We were in a hurry at this particular point in the day, after just leaving the Belgian Memorial, and didn't have time to go inside to see the lobby or the infamous swimming pool.
I, personally, didn't like the movie, "Hotel Rwanda", considering it trivializing of the plight of the Tutsi the way it soft-pedalled the butchering going on outside the hotel, by instead focusing all of its action on soap-opera type events going on inside the hotel.
I never considered the star of the movie a hero, the way he was so blatantly portrayed as being friends with the brutes who were masterminding the killing, ie the Minister of Defence and the head of the Interahamwe, among others. I discuss this in part in the email exchanges ABANDONING RWANDA & MAKING MOVIES and HOLLYWOOD HUTU HOTEL HERO.
I'm of the opinion that if there is a movie to be made about the Rwandan Genocide it should focus on the heroics of those who stopped the Genocide and won the Civil War. See RPF-KAGAME A PT-109 MOVIE.
And anyway, it wasn't really the hotel manager who was protecting the hundreds of refugees hiding out in "his" hotel. It was the United Nations, the Hutu Rwandan Government Forces (RGF) and the Tutsi Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) all cooperating in refugee exchanges and safe passages for those with friends outside the country getting embassies to intercede on their behalf.
During the Genocide, which started on April 7th, 1994, the Mille Collines was automatically made into a United Nations Protected Zone due to the fact that the main customers of its rooms, bars, lounges, restaurants and conference rooms were the Rwandan elite, politicians and other government employees, United Nations and other Non-Governmental-Organization workers and European tourists, mainly Belgian and French who had financial and political connections to Rwanda. United Nations soldiers were permanently stationed outside its gates and the world's media were there too, as witnesses, to varying degrees.
The Hotel was owned by a Belgian airline company that flew into Rwanda. As soon as the massacres started their Belgian manager left the country and the job was handed to a Rwandan - a Hutu named Paul Rusesabagina, who for the past ten years had been manager of their other hotel, la Hotel des Diplomates (the Diplomat) which was located near the Ministry of Defence and was where the elite of the military (RGF-Rwandan Government Forces), police (Gendarmerie), militia (Interahamwe) and president's protectors (Presidential Guards) used to drink and hang out. Rusesabagina was used to being "a host with the most" for them, providing them with whisky from Scotland and cigars from Cuba, etc. After the Genocide started the Diplomat became a military fortress, no longer a hotel, and the Mille Collines became the new place to unwind for the masterminds and perpetrators of the Genocide, cluttered as it was with their victims, running there for safe haven.
go next to 13. ON THE ROAD TO AKAGERA or back to index at DESTINY DESTINATION RWANDA
HOTEL RWANDA HERO HOAX and RUSESABAGINA IMPOSTA RWANDA? and HOTEL HERO NOT ORDINARY
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