This evening Brenda & I went to hear Paul Rusesabagina speak at the University of Colorado's Macky Auditorium.
Mr. Rusesabagina was the hotel manager at the Hotel de Mille Colines in Rwanda, a country that tomorrow will mark the twelve year anniversary of the beginning of the horrific genocide that rocked the nation.
In the spring of 1994, over the course of 100 days, nearly a million human beings were hacked to death with machetes. The story is a long one, and I recommend you read about it.
Mr. Rusesabagina was portrayed by Don Cheadle in the movie "Hotel Rwanda", a film that awakened my interest in this sad chapter in human history and spurred much reading on my part. The sad thing is that nothing has changed. The same thing is happening in the Sudan right fucking now, which he pointed out.
Mr. Rusesabagina had a thick accent and the sound quality was not great, and he essentially recounted the story of his experience in Rwanda in 1994, so the presentation was a little tough to get through but it was fascinating to hear this awful story told by the protagonist in person. Unfortunately, there was also an annoying bitch seated in front of us who kept fidgeting and sending text messages to her likely equally vapid friends throughout the evening. It was a sellout crowd, and it really bothered me that this whore was taking up space -- for free with her CU student ID, most likely -- when someone who actually gives a shit and has a fucking clue about what happened in Rwanda could have been there paying attention and not breathing our fucking oxygen.
I've bitched about the Rwandan genocide on this site in the past here, here and here, and have read several books on Rwanda since. Hotel Rwanda was a great film because it moved me off my ass to learn more about the genocide. If only it inspired more people, maybe something besides killing would be happening in the Sudan right now.
Paul did a great thing in 1994 and I'm glad to see he's able to spread his message. I also see that he has an autobiography coming out, which I have read excerpts from, but I think people are better served by reading about General Dalliare's experience (he includes Paul's valliant efforts) and Gourevitch's excellent reportage. No offense to Mr. Rusesabagina, but it's pretty damned difficult to write an autobiographical account of his efforts without sounding self-serving.
Rwandan genocide reading list (in order of preference):
We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families
Shake Hands with the Devil
Conspiracy to Murder
Eyewitness to a Genocide
Season of Blood