Film Analysis: Hotel Rwanda Genocide

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When the Rwanda genocide began in 1994, its population stood at more that 7 people. Roughly 85% of the population was Hutu, 14% Tutsi, and 1% Twa (un.org). The decades following Rwanda’s independence from Belgium in 1962 saw growing ethnic tensions and periodic violent attacks and reprisals between Rwanda’s Hutu majority and its Tutsi minority. On April 6, 1994, the deaths of the Presidents of Burundi and Rwanda in a plane crash caused by a rocket attack, ignited several weeks of intense and systematic massacres. Looking back on the genocide, through the film Hotel Rwanda and documentary Ghosts of Rwanda, it is proven that the United Nations and outside governments failed to respond in the face of obvious genocide. Hotel Rwanda can be seen…show more content…
While a variety of choices culminated in the 1994 genocide, the Clinton administration, when confronted by the facts, chose not to stop the fight (Kohen 1). In class, we discuss that genocide is defined as acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or part, a national, ethical, racial or religious group. Written by Nicole Winfield of the Online Global Policy, the United Nations released a report assessing United Nation’s involvement in Rwanda. The release said the UN and its member states failed Rwanda in deplorable ways in 1994, ignoring evidence that a genocide was planned, refusing to act once it was underway and finally abandoning the Rwandan people when they most needed protection (Winfield 1). In Hotel Rwanda, I believe that racism played a role in the international community’s failure to act to stop the genocide, as the UN colonel says. The film does not mention other possible contributing factors such as…show more content…
After studying the Rwandan genocide, I believe that many lives could have been spared. There were plenty of early warnings of the genocide, but they were systematically ignored. For example, in the spring of 1992, the Belgian ambassador in Kigali, Johan Swinner warned his government that the Akazu were planning the extermination of the Tutsi of Rwanda to “resolve once and for all, in their own way, the ethnic problem” (Genocide Watch). In the film as well as the documentary, the concept that governmental authorities refuse to recognize that genocide was underway in Rwanda. One fact is that the US government was forewarned of the impending genocide. Communications were sent by cable, e-mail, and secure telephone from the US embassy in Kigali informing the State Department about General Dallaire’s premonitions months before April 6. However, President Clinton had ordered US forces to withdraw form Somalia after General Aideed’s militia killed eighteen Army Rangers (Genocide Watch). During this time, President Clinton had just signed Presidential Decision Directive 25, which the same policy makers had drafted, limiting US involvement in UN peacekeeping operations. But it specifically allowed such intervention in cases of “genocide.” They therefore resisted the “cognitive dissonance” of reports of impending genocide in Rwanda, which should have created at least a moral duty to intervene. I believe that at this time, the UN was more focused on

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