Last week-end I saw Terry George’s newest film, featuring Don Cheadle, Sophie Okenedo, Joaquin Phoenix & Nick Nolte. Hotel Rwanda tells the true-life story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsis refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in
At the same time, this movie drove me to remember the period I studied at the University of Liège.
1994. We were 8 students in the building, in the citycenter of Liège. During a year, I became very close with one of the ‘roommies”. His name is Omer, and besides being notorious for his ability to party all night long, we shared a common interest in (global) politics, and its impact on people’s life. We had many many evening talks. Omer was from
For days, he had no news from father & mother. His brother studied in Switserland, so was safe… For evenings and nights, in our appartment or in “the carré’ (the center were most cafés are) we talked, discussed about what was happening, but still the genocide seemed so far away. So unreal. So … not part of my life.
But talking with Omer made it part of my life. For weeks he had no news about his mother, his father, his family. News came in about hundreds of deaths, thousands, 50.000 – and the number kept on rising. Fear captured his heart & sadness entered his mind. But than, suddenly, at 2am while we were talking with some friends in his apartment the phone rang … his father … to tell him his mother was OK & had been able to go to Zaire … Will never forget that look …
Movie brought that back … Movies are amongst the simplest of educational materials. Everyone can develop his story, Everyone can follow, characters can be deepened, messages can be passed and/or taken …
We should oblige everyone to have a look at Schindler’s List, La Vita e Bella, some others … and also Hotel Rwanda. Times wipes away lessons from the past and movies can bring the memories and explanation why civilisations loose their moral values … This link is a good demonstration of educational material based on stories with a movy as a catalysator.
Because there are things we should never forget.