You are on page 1of 4

Chelsea Feuer

APHG/Period 7
February 12, 2012

Hotel Rwanda Discussion Questions
1. What kind of person does Paul initially appear to be to us, the viewers?
Paul appears to be an arrogant and dominant man who is the manager of a hotel. He also
gives off a very confident demure. Evidence supporting this initial impression is his sense of
style and cleverness when associating with businessmen. When interacting with these
wealthy men, he gives them Cohiba cigars from Havana, Cuba which is worth 10,000 francs
as he mentioned in the movie because they are more stylish than giving a rich man just
10,000 francs. This also shows that he is a well-educated and well-respectful person amongst
2. What event seems to start the genocide? Is the political & historical background handled
by the film adequately? (Was enough information given to explain why the genocide
occurred?) Explain.
The tension leading up to the genocide was because Belgium colonized Rwanda and divided
the people into two groups known as the Tutsi and Hutu. The Belgium favored the Tutsi even
though they were the minority tribe in Rwanda. When Rwanda gained independence and the
Belgium left, the Hutu began to hold the leadership positions in government. On April 6,
1994, the genocide began with the murder of President Juvénal Habyarimana. The Hutu
extremists blamed the Tutsi rebels for shooting down the president’s plane killing everyone
on board. The Hutus responded by beginning the slaughter of 800,000 people within 24 hours
of the plane crash. The political and historical background was depicted accurately, but
simply in the film. For example, the conversation between the journalist and a Rwandan at
the hotel bar leads the viewer to believe that there were no social distinctions between the
Tutsi and Hutu tribes prior to Belgian colonial rule in Rwanda. Historically, distinctions
between the Tutsi and Hutu were economic rather than racial prior to colonization.
3. What do you think UN Colonel Oliver means when he says, “We are peace-keepers, not
peace-makers.”? Is there a difference? If so, what is it? If not, why does he say this?
UN Colonel Oliver was ordered that troops were not to use weapons unless in self-defense.
They are there to stabilize the situation without intervening. There is a difference between
acting as a peace-maker and acting as a peace-keeper. A peace-keeper attempts to prevent
fights, violence and disputes, while a peace-maker is one who attempts to get them under
control once they do occur.
4. Why does the UN withdraw its forces and the non-Rwandan inhabitants?

This decision was made by the United Nation Security Council in order to take out citizens of the countries in the United Nations. and would have to raise their children by herself. he meant that the Western world was apathetic towards the genocide in Rwanda. 7. This causes her and their children to feel very sad. “You’re not even a n---er. What are your thoughts on the conflict between Tatiana & after he decides to stay. I feel as though it was selfish of him to disregard his family’s feelings. sadness. I literally felt sick to my stomach knowing that this actually happened in real life. The filmmakers probably filmed the genocide in this way to give the audience an image that actually showed just how many peoples’ lives were taken during this genocide. the UN withdrew most of its forces leaving only 250 UN troops compared to the 2. Recall the convoy of Rwandans who have obtained visas to leave. You’re an African. What do you think he means when he tells Paul. . It’s a very conflicted situation to say which person is more “correct” than the other. and possibly even guilt. the emotional toll on him and his family would be equal to the emotions present if he and his family were to remain separated. “you’re not even a n---er”? The UN Colonel’s comments were particularly disturbing and racist especially when he said. He thought his family would be safe and better off even if they may never see each other again.Initially. Describe your reaction to the scene immediately after Paul’s meeting with George Rutaganda (in car w/ Gregoire). Tatiana knows that Paul may die which means that she will never see him again. Explain the UN Colonel’s disturbing comments on the UN’s decision not intervene. Why do you think filmmakers decided to film the genocide this way? After Paul’s meeting with George Rutaganda. Either way. The Hutu Army would have killed all of the refugees at the hotel if it wasn’t for Paul who saved them by contacting the General to get his men to protect them.” By this. 6. the dead bodies lying on the ground made me feel disgusted and sympathetic towards the innocent Rwandans that were slaughtered like cattle. What are they feeling during this scene? Why? Is there one person who is more “correct” than the other? Why? I believe that Paul did the right thing by staying behind to keep the refugees safe.500 original troops deployed in Rwanda following the murder of 10 Belgian soldiers. the questions and doubts of what could’ve been the right decision in this situation would stimulate emotions of hurt. he can’t bear to live knowing that he left the refugees unprotected. If Paul were to leave the refugees in the hotel behind. Paul is feeling brave. It really made me think that people can be very cruel if their hatred is strong enough. 5. At the same time. The superpowers of the world did not care enough about the Africans to stop the slaughter which is why the UN had decided to withdraw its soldiers and non-Rwandan inhabitants. They also wanted to trigger emotions of sadness and aversion towards the mass murder of so many innocent people. Place yourself in one in one of the two characters position. yet helpless in this moment because as much as he wants to be with his family.

Paul would have the ability to tell the Americans that the general actually helped the refugees back at the hotel. The two tribes at conflict are the primary cause for the lack of development present in this country. The Germans were led by a single man who was responsible for the killing of 6 million Jews. in general. While they were there. readings.7 million people. the West played a substantial role in trying to stop the Nazis from killing millions of people. During the genocide. and the horrors during this time seem to show the graphic images that were present in real life. How. The general replies by claiming that he did not commit the crimes that he is accused of. The Holocaust killed 6 million people throughout the course of 4 years. . If people do not die due to the mass murders of the Tutsi rebels or Hutu extremists. This says that the general could’ve been bribed earlier to put an end to the war which would ultimately save hundreds of thousands of lives. Killings in Rwanda were spontaneous and took place more publicly whereas the Germans took many precautions to hide their actions by using concentration camps for example. are Rwandans represented by the film? Rwanda itself? Compare these representations with how WWII-era Germans were portrayed in the documentaries. the Holocaust is a well-known example of genocide compared to the less known Rwandan genocide. Rwandans are represented in a cruel and hateful manner due to their inability to keep peace amongst its people. 10. conflict occurred between many people so that not one person could be held responsible. Without Paul’s help.000 to 1. How is Paul able to convince General Bizimungu into helping him at the end? What does this say about how the outcome of the war might have ended differently? Paul convinces General Bizimungu by offering to get him supplies at the other hotel called The Diplomat. Rwanda itself is a less developed country (LDC) with a disorganized military that has no support from more developed countries (MDC). they are likely to die due to lack of proper health care. the general would most definitely continue to be on the list of America’s military criminals based on his status in the Rwandan Army. In the Rwandan genocide.8. Rwanda on the other hand remained a poor country without much empathy from the West. supplies and communication become scarce. and provided an emotional trigger for viewers. These representations deal with the harsh realities caused by genocide. the violence that took place in Rwanda was not fully represented for the mere fact that it was a very ghastly scene that even the Hollywood movie industry couldn’t fully take on. The conflicts between Paul and his family didn’t necessarily take place. 9. etc. you have seen. Moreover. Paul told the general that he was on the list of military criminals in America. the movie is partially fictional and dramatized for the Hollywood effect. Contrarily. During World War II. However. He basically blackmailed him by saying that the general would be convicted of war crimes. To what degree do we witness the Rwandan genocide in the film? The Rwandan genocide is witnessed by its audience to the fullest degree in that all events are historically depicted. The Rwandan genocide resulted in the murders of 800. Germany also thrived during the WWII-era as the Germans claimed much of the territory in Europe as their own.

it is known that 90% of the population was Hutu which probably means that the majority of the Hutu made up the Christian population.11. what might you speculate about Rwanda’s future (from the perspective of 1994)? I believe that Rwanda’s future based on the end of the film would be very depressing. A long road to a peaceful nation would be ahead of them. Rwanda was widely considered the most “Christianized country” in Africa. religious beliefs could have played a part in why the Tutsi and Hutu could not maintain a peaceful environment. The main factor that stimulated the Rwandan genocide was the ethnic conflict between the Tutsi and Hutu tribes. This would be very difficult because conflicts between the two tribes would have to be forgotten. Close to 90% of Rwanda claimed to be Christians. 12. Based on the end of the film. . Therefore. Differences between these ethnicities are attributes that contribute to the conflicts behind the genocide that took place. However. The scars from this 100 day genocide would have to be healed. This would be especially difficult if they did not receive help from the Western world. How do you account for the genocide which occurred in light of this information? The genocide in Rwanda was not primarily due to religious conflict although it could be attributed to be a minor cause of the big picture. A new government and stable military would have to be enforced. and it would most likely take a long time for this happen.