Tuesday, March 1, 2011

“Hotel Rwanda” is all lies and other trivia


Gorgeous scenery


We went on a guided tour of Kigali today. Here are some facts:

1. Rwanda is the only country in the world with fewer males than females in Parliament.

2. Many Muslims helped to hide the (Catholic) Tutsis from the (Catholic) Hutus, quoting from the Koran: “To save one life is to save the whole world”

3. President Kagame has been president for 11 years. The tour guide says anyone can say they hate him, but no one wants to because he’s such a great president. Somehow I doubt that…not that he hasn’t done great things for the country, but that there aren’t people who don’t like him…The guy leading the tour was a Tutsi anyway.

4. It is easy to buy land and build a house here. You could get started in one day if you wanted to.


5. People harbor resentment towards the UN for leaving.

This is where the shootout occurred which killed the Belgium soldiers, causing the UN to leave

I think this is understandable for 2 reasons. One is that people stayed in Rwanda thinking they were safe because of the “blue hats”. Two is that the UN purposely avoided the word “genocide” in describing the events because international law says they have to intervene. President Clinton has said America’s response to this tragedy is the greatest regret of his presidency.

6. According to our guide, people here apparently hate Paul Ruessebagina. He’s never dared to come back to Rwanda after the movie Hotel Rwanda, which the tour guide says is 100% fiction. He told me to go and speak with the employees there, some of whom have worked there 20-30 years, and they would tell me the truth—that if Paul saved anyone, it was for money. He doesn’t seem to realize that the movie put Rwanda on the tourist map and without it, many people would never have even heard of the genocide.


The radio loudspeaker from which hate rhetoric used to spew

7. The 1994 genocide was not the first Rwandan genocide. People got along with each other just fine until the Belgians created divisions between them, made them carry identity cards, and introduced racism.


A mass grave at the genocide memorial

8. I don’t know how much I can trust what the tour guide said because he said that Rwandans did not have a propensity towards stealing. I told him the only time I have ever been stolen from personally was here in Kigali. He said it is because of the influx of other East Africans like Burundians and Kenyans. Malcolm X sure came across as Rwandan to me.

9. Tourism is Rwanda’s largest source of revenue.

10. I got my underground information about the government from a friend I made after volunteering at a Mother Teresa orphanage here. She has lived here for 4.5 years. If it weren’t for her suggestion, I would have no idea that there were any problems. Rwanda’s government is stable as far as African government’s go—it’s stable by force of the military.


It’s just not fully democratic yet. It feels safe—but one good thing about the US is, no one doubts that democracy is there to stay. Personally, I see great things for Rwanda on the horizon. I think it’s unlike any country in Africa. It’s clean, organized, and orderly. Education is now free. I’m grateful for how far they’ve come.



Julie said...

I actually had heard that about the Belgians--they gave preferential treatment to the Tutsis (since they looked more European) over the Hutus. As for that UN--I was interning in DC when the genocide of Darfur hit the news and it made me so mad that it was officially classified as "genocidal acts" as opposed to official genocide. What?!

Anonymous said...

Talk about being take for a ride. I can go one by one showing you how each one of what you claim as fact is actually a lie but I don't have all that time. Here's a few though: the gov't accused of genocide actually requested more UN troops when RPF resumed fighting in '94 and requested a ceasefire. You'll be surprised to know who opposed that. Can you tell me the percentage of Rwandans able to buy land and build a house? Look, I love my country and I'm happy that at least you have interest in it. My recommendation is for you to do some candid research on your own before you make up your mind on anything. e.g just try and find out the truth about the 'genocide'. and real truth, not current gov't propaganda. I'm astounded that you use tour guides and other gov't employees for information when you have such a great resource as the internet.

Jacob and Kalli Hiller said...

Thanks for your post, anonymous...

"I don't know how much I can trust anything the tour guide said"...

Is what I said. :)

Not saying anything was facts, just reporting what the tour guide said. In fact, I was hoping my tone came across more dubious than it must have done.

Anonymous said...

My mistake, I sped through your post initially and I guess i kinda expected the usual propaganda fed foreigner, especially American. Don't mean to be demeaning/offensive in any way, it just occurs a lot. Anyway, after re-reading the post, I clearly sense your disbelief. Well the truth is Rwanda is a very sick country. Most of what you hear is the opposite of the truth underneath. I especially like your second to last photo with military personnel walking along the street. Cherish it because that's one of your privileges as a westerner. Partly because you indirectly fund, train and equip those soldiers. Would you agree to it if you knew their track record? I doubt it. Anyway I like it because it shows the state the country is in. You see, President Kagame runs a police state and that's just one of his ways of reminding people who is in charge and how mighty he is. Making sure that even the innocent 7 year old kid playing with his friends in the neighborhood knows that. It's nice that you have a positive outlook for Rwanda. I wish I had it

Jacob and Kalli Hiller said...

Hi--wish I could have responded to your comment earlier but blogspot was blocked in Ethiopia. Actually I did get in trouble for taking that picture--all the more reason to post it, so I didn't get yelled at for nothing! If you ever want to guest post on my blog, anonymously of course, I would love to get the insider's view--especially since everyone was too nervous to actually tell me what was going on. Or, you could email me at kalli at jumpmanual.com.

Anonymous said...

Good post however I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic?

I'd be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Appreciate it!

Feel free to visit my page; vertical jump workouts

Anonymous said...

Everything is very open with a clear description of the issues.
It was definitely informative. Your site is very useful. Thanks for sharing!

Feel free to visit my blog Www.Palkiajack.com

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that's both equally educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail
on the head. The issue is something too few men
and women are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy that I stumbled across this in my hunt for something relating to this.

Look at my site: Fumigacion.It-Services.Cl

Anonymous said...

There's definately a great deal to find out about this subject. I like all of the points you've made.

Also visit my weblog :: vertical jump exercises

Anonymous said...

Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I
found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter
and said "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear." She put the shell to her ear and screamed.
There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely
off topic but I had to tell someone!

Here is my blog: jump manual review

Anonymous said...

Fantastic beat ! I wish to apprentice at the
same time as you amend your web site, how can i subscribe for a
weblog website? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I were tiny
bit familiar of this your broadcast offered vibrant transparent concept

my web-site; Porath.org

Anonymous said...

I create a leave a response whenever I like a article on a
site or I have something to add to the conversation.
It's caused by the passion displayed in the article I looked at. And after this post ""Hotel Rwanda" is all lies and other trivia". I was actually moved enough to leave a thought ;-) I do have 2 questions for you if it's okay.
Is it only me or do some of these responses come across like they
are coming from brain dead folks? :-P And, if you
are writing on additional places, I'd like to follow you. Would you make a list all of your communal pages like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

my web-site klaniny.pl

Anonymous said...

After I originally commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify
me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get four emails with the exact same
comment. Perhaps there is a means you can remove me from that service?
Many thanks!

Review my web page: exercises to improve vertical leap

Anonymous said...

I'm gone to say to my little brother, that he should also pay a quick visit this website on regular basis to obtain updated from latest news.

Have a look at my web site: confessional lutheran fellowship

Powered by Blogger