On April 6, 1994, a one hundred day reign of terror and genocide took over the country of Rwanda. There were two divided ethnic groups in Rwanda, the Hutu and the Tutsis. The Hutu rebels led a massive civil war against the Tutsis in beginning in April 1994. The Hutus killed over 1,000,00 Rwandans. There were very few people to protect the poor defenseless Rwandans. Paul Rusesabagina was one man who strived to save approximately 1,200 people at the hotel he worked.
Paul worked as the assistant manager of the Hotel Des Milles Collines. “The Belgian owners of the Collines promoted Paul to manager as they fled for safety (Crockett, pg.1). Paul was left with two hotels and many lives in his hands. He risked both his and his family’s lives by staying at the hotel. Paul had to go to extraordinary measures for the refugees in the hotel. Everyone at the Des Milles Collines hotel was in danger but survived the only due to Paul Rusesabagina’s commitment to protect them.
The saga began on an early April morning when Hutus came to Paul’s home where he and many from his neighborhood were hiding. They took them outside and gave Paul a gun. The rebels ordered Paul to shoot everyone or he would be killed. Paul offered to pay the Rebels to not kill them. He took money from the hotel safe and was able to assure some safety for the group at the Des Milles Collines. “That day was only the start of a daily routine of appeasing and bribing the guards in order to stave off killings in his hotel” (Crockett, pg.1).
Paul and his guests were put in numerous life threatening situations. They were literally on their own for survival each day. Even the UN Peacekeepers abandoned the hotel. Paul had to call upon officials and diplomats he had met through his years working at the Des Milles Collines for help. He did everything in his ability to protect the hotel and all its occupants. Paul used many of the skills he had learned from pleasing “VIP” guests to appease rebels wielding machetes and machine guns.
This genocide is one of the most overlooked slaughters of world history. The killings were very misunderstood. Many blame the Belgians for the massacre. The Belgians ruled Rwanda for a part of its history. The