“Hotel Rwanda” is all lies and other trivia

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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.

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5. People harbor resentment towards the UN for leaving.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 364 awesome articles for us.

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