Friday, October 14, 2005

Belgian waffles on human rights

Ah, the taste of a Belgian waffle from a street vendor in Brussels is still a special treat but nothing could surpass the satisfaction I experienced earlier this spring when I attended the film, Hotel Rwanda, in Brussels simply because the theatre was primarily filled with native Belgians (based on my observation of their pre-film conversations). These film-goers generated enough nervous tension that I could feel the unease (perhaps remorse ???) in the room as the film's opening scene blamed their nation's colonial activity in Rwanda for the resulting genocide.

This film shows the human race at its worst --- colonialism and Malthusian thought dominate the film -- with the primary cause of this modern day genocide being the racist, imperial policies of Rwanda's former colonial master, the Kingdom of Belgium, which is explained in the film review below:


The movie Hotel Rwanda depicts the real-life story of hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina and his efforts to save more than a thousand countrymen during the slaying of close to a million ethnic minority Tutsis. I hope you find the time to see this film and lecture if you are near Ames, Iowa this week since my alma mater, Iowa State University is hosting this special event:
  • The movie will be shown at 7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 16 in the Sun Room, Memorial Union Building
  • Mr. Rusesabagina will present a live lecture at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 26 in the Great Hall, Memorial Union, to recount his first-hand experiences. Born in Rwanda in 1954, Rusesabagina entered missionary school at the age of 8 and later entered the hotel and catering industry. He was manager of the Milles Collines hotel at the start of the Rwanda crises.
In 1962, the Belgians, after a long colonial presence, exited the country, giving Rwanda it's independence. The Belgian masters separated the Rwandans according to ethnicity. Using the following methodology:
  • measuring of forehead size
  • class system - if you had more than ten cows, you were Tutsi, if not, Hutu
  • Tutsis, although in the minority, were the favored race under Belgian rule
  • Before the Belgians exited the country they inflamed the situation by maneuvering power into the hands of a Hutu party, which quickly institutionalized racism against the Tutsi.

Fight the power,


1 comment:

Yuri said...

What do you mean by saying " The Belgian masters separated the Rwandans according to ethnicity. "