Rusesabagina writes that “a false view of history is a toxin in the bloodstream. ” How have you experienced this is your own life? Is there such a thing as a completely true view of history? It seems as though wherever there is a disagreement between two people, each of them always has a different story. Given this, two friends of mine fought over a bet they had made. One said the bet was for $20 while the other disagreed that they had never shaken hands to declare it. This is a prime example of what Rusesabagina is describing.
No matter what situation one is in, there will always be differing opinions over what took place simply because people are often biased in their views of the past, seeing only how it affected him or her. Thus, I do not believe in such a thing as a true view of history. 2. The culture of hate enabled Hutu murderers to think of themselves as victims because “the person whose throat you do not cut will be the one who cuts yours. ” Where do you think that sentiment arises from? How do you think it can be counteracted?
The sentiment of “the person whose throat you do not cut will be the one who cuts yours” is one that is taught early on. Hutu students were taught in class that they were insignificant to Tutsi children, causing them to feel inferior. Years later, when the Hutu students grew to become adults, Radio-Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) became very popular. RTLM transgressed from a typical radio show to a politically racist show bringing back many of the same emotions from grade school to the Hutu people. This could have been counteracted had the government discontinued the show after its first few discriminating remarks. . Rusesabagina describes how he would listen to absurdly racist radio debates. Though he loathed the opinions expressed, he found the shows fascinating. Why do you think people are drawn to media sources that they disapprove of? Media will always be attractive to society. Though we may despise it, we still read Star magazine, watch Saturday Night Live, and listen to music with disturbing lyrics. We read, watch, and listen to opinions we disagree with daily. If we did not, we would have nothing to say when our peers discussed last night’s TV show or the new song on the radio.
To further prove this theory, I read an interview with Rusesabasgina and he states, “You have to know what people are saying in order to argue against their points of view. “ 4. When you see a man like Rusesabagina (or Oskar Schindler in the film Schindler’s List) save lives by paying bribes to government agents, does it change how you look at the role graft plays in society? This is not just a “yes” or “no” answer. Explain your answer. No, graft will always be in a government. Whether it is a governor being tried for adultery or a president being impeached, graft is a role in every government.
Without it, Rusesabagina or Schindler would not have been successful in carrying out their compromises. 5. How does Rusesabagina use the “Rwandan No” as a way to critique first his own culture and then the international community? The “Rwandan No” has become a universal term. In the autobiography, An Ordinary Man, Rusesabagina speaks of his country, Rwanda, as a peaceful place. He mentions that Rwandans are too polite to say no. Instead of simply declining, Rwandans make up excuses until the inquiring person gives up asking or gets the hint.
Throughout the novel, Rusesabagina shows many instances where the “Rwandan no” gradually transgressed from polite to scornful as it became used internationally. In many cases, the obscure declination was used in situations of dire need by both the United Nations and the United States towards Rwanda. 6. Given Rusesabagina’s experiences, what do you think the future holds for Rwanda? I am not quite sure what the future holds for the country of Rwanda. From the looks of the government, it is still run quite the same as before.
There isn’t much of a democracy with one candidate winning 95% of votes, however, I believe that the country truly cares about its history and in an attempt of consolidation, will not let another event happen to repeat the genocide of 1994. 7. What different choices do you think you would have made if you had been in Rusesabagina’s position? I do not believe I would have handled the situation as successfully as Rusesabagina did. I understand he acted under pressure, but knowing myself, I would have not been able to deliver myself as eloquently as he did in any of his situations. 8.
What effect do Rusesabagina’s accounts of the actions of the United Nations and the United States have on your impression of either? Rusesabagina’s accounts have left me to believe that the United Nations could have easily stopped the progression of the genocide in the beginning. If they had stayed in Rwanda to portray the slightest bit of protection to the people, I believe the Hutu murderers would be have been threatened enough to back off for the time being. Also, Rusesabagina’s account of asking the White House for help at the last minute and recalling how each person responded with an obscure eclination gravely upsets me. Our country was hypocritical in its acts of speaking of protection, yet when the time came, our nation’s leader avoided it. There was no justice between the United Nations and United States towards Rwanda. 9. Do the horrors described in the book make you look at Africa differently? Explain your answer. This book has caused me to look at Africa differently. Before, I never heard much about Africa or its struggles. Now, I have opened myself up to learning about Darfur and the genocide that has been taking place roughly since 2003.
Rusesabagina’s autobiography has opened my eyes to my own government, as well. I catch myself watching the news more frequently and reading up on archives in my spare time. This book has discreetly made a difference in who I am now. 10. Rusesabagina refers to himself as an ordinary man. Were his deeds those of an ordinary man or of a hero? Explain your answer. I have mixed feelings towards this. Rusesabagina deserves the title of a “hero” in which he saved many lives in those few months. He acted in a way I could never see myself acting.
He befriended his enemy and compromised what was sought after for a bottle of wine. Rusesabagina acted the way he felt he should, which thus makes him an ordinary man. We, as humans, are all created with instincts for survival. Therefore, we use them in whatever way possible to keep us alive. It is my belief that Rusesabagina took advantage of both his instincts and his knowledge to keep him, his family, and his guests alive. It is my opinion that he is both a hero for managing to save so many lives and as an ordinary man for using his instincts and knowledge to survive.