Last night was the first night in a while that I could actually cuddle up on the couch after a home cooked meal and finally watch the movie I've had for over a week now. Since it's debut last year, I've been intrigued by the movie Hotel Rwanda. I have put off seeing it however due to the graphic scenes that I knew I'd see and just the overall tone that I knew it would cast upon my heart and mind. Without any further delays or procrastination, I sat down last night with a blanket, pillow, and Rob and started the movie.
Starting the movie was simple, watching the movie was not. I wish I could say that I watched the whole thing but that would be a lie. I'd guess I lasted about an hour, maybe even less. I couldn't sit on the couch comfortably wrapped in a blanket and watch people lose their lives by machete. There was one scene where the Hutu's had about 10 Tutsies gathered on the side of the road awaiting to be killed one by one right in front of each other. What made me literally nauseous was that while the Hutu's waved their guns and machetes over their head with wide grins and excited eyes, the camera focused in on one of the Tutsi men, quietly sitting with his head in his hands and you could see the complete emptiness in his soul. I could see the desperation of their situation and I could not fathom having my mother seated to my right, possibly sheltering a small child under her legs for protection, and knowing that I would die, we would die, and we were all going to have to watch it happen. No human being should ever have to witness such acts, however this is the reality of many.
I wanted to keep watching out of respect for their situation but I just couldn't do it and I am disappointed in myself. I need to watch that stuff and I need to be educated on the reality of such places and I failed. I shielded my eyes and I turned my back. One of the most powerful lines in the movie comes from an interaction with an American reporter and the main character (a native from Africa in the movie). When the war has broken out and the massacre is surrounding their hotel, the African says to reporter "thank you for filming the killings as it will allow people to see what is going on here and they'll intervene." The American reporter replies without any feeling or remorse "In all honesty, no one is going to intervene. People will see this on the news and then they'll go back to their dinners and to their lives." (Insert the sound of my stomach hitting the floor here.)
As we turned off the movie not even half way through, I looked at Rob and asked "what do we do?" I want to do something. Delivering medical supplies is no longer enough to me, but what can I do? I am a 29 year old, white female with no military experience and nothing to contribute to such genocides, but I cannot be one of those people who will see such slaughtering and turn back to my dinner and back to my life. I am heartsick over this and I cannot just turn off my "I care" button. And I can't help but wonder what if we all cared?