Sunday, January 13, 2013

hotel america

i watched 2004's Hotel Rwanda last night and i would say that i don't know why it took me so long to watch it, but i do know...

the movie (a true story) chronicles the 1994 the genocide of the Tutsi people by the Hutu militia and a hotel manager (Paul Rusesabagina) that houses and saves over 1,000 Tutsi refugees. it was an amazing, inspirational movie and if you have not seen it, you should! it is not for the faint of heart, though.

the most overwhelmingly emotional scene for me was actually not the horrendous and merciless slaughtering of the Rwandan men, women and children by other Rwandans with cheap, Chinese made machetes or the poor and pitiful conditions the refugees had to incur. but instead, it is a conversation between Paul (amazingly played by Don Cheadle) and Jack, an American journalist (played by Joaquin Phoenix), staying at the hotel, covering the story of the refugees. against strict instruction, Jack goes outside the comforts and security of the hotel to shoot "the real footage" as he called it, of what was really going on in the country. 

Paul, although horrified at the footage he saw, was thankful to Jack that the world was going to be able to see what was happening... because when they see it, they will come to the aid of the refugees and the country. Jack then asks Paul, 'what happens if the world doesn't come to help?' seemingly stunned at his question, Paul replies with 'but they have too. how could they not?' Jack earnestly replies with 'they are going to see the footage, pause and say yes, it's horrible. then they are going to go back to eating their dinner.' a truer statement might never have been spoken. 

when the shit really starting to hit the fan, the rich, white families (both American and European) staying at the 4-star hotel were evacuated by the UN, leaving the native Rwandans behind. as Jack was walking out to the UN bus leaving the battered and torn country, in the midst of the chaos and incoming refugees, he simply said, 'i feel so ashamed.' ...and i was too. 

which brings me to why it took me 9 years to watch this movie... i was one of those people watching the television,  feeling sad for the people and then going back to eating my dinner... and i am not the person anymore and i never will be again. 

we live in a free country full of luxury and abundance! do we have our problems?  yes! yes, we do. unfortunately, some of the problems are just human and biological nature that needs to be tamed. but most of our problems, are unintentionally, intentionally created by us, the citizens of this great country. the current political news story is that the GOP (who has their share of testosterone filled pale faces) are saying that Obama's new cabinet is not diverse enough. seriously, that's a problem? because last time i checked, hiring a person for a job was a good thing, not a problem. and who the hell cares that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are having baby? i'm ashamed, i even know that actually. there are so many more things, a million times more important things, to fill your brain with.

like for instance, do you know what the biggest luxury we have in this country? we can lay our heads down at night without fear. it's that simple. we never have to fear that the atrocities that happened in Rwanda and continue to happen in other countries around the world, will happen here. there are millions of souls out there... that will never, never know that feeling. we are so lucky, in our part of the world, here in the States, to have a government and military (of all races, genders, religions and sexual orientation) protecting us and keeping us safe and secure.

it is so incredibly easy to take our freedoms and luxuries for granted, but you shouldn't, not even for one moment. your 'problems.' our 'problems,' relatively speaking, aren't problems at all... they're merely minor inconveniences and circumstances that should not carry a second thought. 

"happiest are the people who give most happiness to others."