Monday, March 28, 2005

Beyond Hotel Rwanda

As I wrote previously, I was moved by Hotel Rwanda.

I must admit to being embarrassed by how little I know about that conflict. In fact, I know very little about many of the conflicts on the whole continent. Maybe it is one of the luxuries of being an American -- our news organizations are just not geared to cover international news. For many of us, ignorance truly is bliss.

But, I want to know more. So, I picked up, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda. I am about a third of the way through it. What amazes me most, so far, is how my own preconceived notions about the conflict were just dead wrong.

I believed, going in, that this conflict, like many of the others in Africa, was probably caused by colonialism and the seemingly random lines that created countries, dividing some tribes, while putting other tribes together. Yet, that seems not to be the case. While the Germans and the Belgians may have helped fuel the conflict in other ways, this was not a case of political geography. As I understand it, The Hutus and Tutis had coexisted in Rwanda for a significant period of time. Yet, even through their coexistence had managed to retain their individual tribal identities.

I will write more as I move forward with the book.


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