In an attempt to raise awareness of the horrors of genocide ASP Films and STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition will play “Hotel Rwanda” at 6:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m., Feb. 3 and 4 in VU 552.
“STAND contacted me and really wanted to show “Hotel Rwanda,” ASP films coordinator Paul Whelan said. “I agreed because it is a very powerful film. I learned a lot from watching that film that I didn't know before. I think Western students will benefit from watching it.”
In the film, Paul Rusesabagina (played by Don Cheadle) is a hotel owner who houses over 1,000 Tutsi refugees inside his hotel during the genocide.
Between April and June 1994, an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed in the space of 100 days, according to the BBC. The film follows the Rwandan conflict between the majority Hutu group and the minority Tutsi group. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards: best writing, best actor and best actress.
“I think Western students should see this because in this area of the world there is very little attention to Africa, especially covered in the media and being in an affluent community a college community issues such as human rights abuses are far below the radar,” graduate student and STAND member Andrew Holcom said.
While thousands died, the international response and aid to Rwanda during the time of the genocide was limited. Four years after the genocide, former President Bill Clinton issued what today is known as the “Clinton apology,” in which he acknowledged his failure to efficiently deal with the situation in Rwanda.
“We come here today partly in recognition of the fact that we in the United States and the world community did not do as much as we could have and should have done to try to limit what occurred,” Clinton said in a 1998 speech at the Kigali airport.
What happened in Rwanda should make us more aware of what needs to be done in Darfur, Holcom said.
“One of the most potent things about the Rwandan genocide is that we knew it was happening. There were UN troops on the ground but they did not have the backing from governments to do anything. They were there to create the image of concern,” Holcom said. “Our government calls what is happening in Darfur genocide and then says, ‘Hey, African Union take care of it.'”