I just finished watching Hotel Rwanda. It is a true story, and I’m still trying to come to grips with that fact.
In 1994, 1,000,000 Rwandans were killed in a Civil War. The war was between the two main groups in Rwanda, the Hutus and the Tutsis. The Hutus killed 1,000,000 Tutsis. They targeted the children because they wanted to prevent the next generation of Tutsis from becoming. The Hutus committed genocide, and no one did anything to help the victims.
Hitler killed 6,000,000 Jews during the holocaust. It took forever for America to get involved, and only after Pearl Harbor did we finally join the war.
The UN knew about the genocide in Rwanda, but pulled their people out anyway. The press reported that there were ‘acts of genocide’ being committed, but no one would call it what it was. It was the systematic slaughter of one group of people by another. Genocide.
And no one helped them.
Today, the same thing is happening in the Sudan and the Congo, both in Africa.
Again, we are doing nothing to help.
In the movie, a line keeps coming back to me. Nick Nolte’s character was telling Don Cheadle’s character that no one was coming to help. He said, “You’re dirt. You aren’t even a nigger. You’re an African.”
Lower than the worst racial slur we have for black people in this country. Unbelievable.
How is it that we can’t see the humanity in each other? How is it that these atrocities happen every day in our world, and we go on with our lives, happy, too well-fed, and spoiled?
God, I see this, and I feel so damned helpless. What can I do to change things? Can I really sit in my recliner and do nothing? I know about it now. Can I go back to the life I have and never give the people who are suffering and dying horrible deaths another thought?
And if I do, what kind of person does that make me?
I am horrified and ashamed. I don’t have a clue what I can do to help, but there has to be something.
I don’t want to go back to being complacent. I may not be able to change the world, but maybe I can put my little spark of energy toward bringing good into the world and helping any way I can.
I’m emotionally drained. I put off watching this movie because I knew I would be. I don’t think I’m being coherent, and I wish I was. I wish I could be as eloquent as the people in Africa deserve.
I’m sorry I’m not better at this, but I’m not giving up. Don’t you give up, either.