Tuesday, November 28, 2006

An Ordinary Man by Paul Rusesabagina

Make no mistake, Paul Rusesabagina is no ordinary man. This is an extraordinary accounting from a self-described ordinary man, of how he was able to use his position and talent with words to save 1,268 fellow Rwandans from slaughter during the 100 day genocide in 1994.

Rusesabagina gives a short introduction on his involvement in saving fellow Rwandans in the genocide. Then he begins the full story by rendering the complexity of Rwanda's cultural and political history. We learn of his early family life in rural Rwanda as the son of a Hutu father and a Tutsi mother and the serendipitous finding of his career as a hotel manager. With this insightful information, the reader then is thrust into Rusesabagina's anguish and subsequent heroic actions as the genocide begins. Rusesabagina is driven by his belief that all human life is inviolable and that his position as a hotel manager required him to take care of his guests no matter the peril to himself. Rusesabagina ends his book with a visit to a church outside Kigali, where thousands were massacred and where a multilingual sign-cloth reads, "Never Again." He warns that until Rwandas learn to sit down together and talk that the phrase is without conviction and that genocide is likely to happen in Rwanda's future again.


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