The movie Hotel Rwanda vividly portrays hardship and war casualties caused by genocide in Rwanda. The director of the movie, Terry George, skillfully creates a picture of genocide and ethnic confrontations affected civil society. The idea that the Tutsi were the superior race in Rwanda, ruling over the agriculturist Hutu through a feudal system of client relations, was much oversimplified. Critically, they were not fixed categories but fluid ones, varying through time and location depending on such factors as wealth, military prowess, family, control over a precious commodity, or occupation of a prestigious social position.ThesisThe failure meant the global community was unable to prevent Rwandan extremists from launching their mass genocide.
Through the character of Paul and his wife Tatiana, the movie proves that there was mobility among the "classes": Hutu could become Tutsi and vice versa, although the precise conditions that led to a change in status are unclear in the historical literature. Clearly, the human suffering of the genocide was the overwhelming consequence of the failure to contain the escalation of the Rwandan war, overshadowing all other consequences. Yet other consequences were significant. First among them, in chronological terms, was the humanitarian crisis produced by the genocide, wherein more than half of the Rwandan population was displaced from their homes. This crisis generated an overwhelming response from the international relief system and the wider international community. Literally hundreds of relief organizations flooded into Rwanda to respond to some portion of the misery. The movie states that no fewer than eight nations sent military contingents to assist the relief process.
The movie shows that the Canadian Colonel Oliver had no military forces and authority to stop this conflict. The response preceded the launch of the genocide. International and local aid agencies, present in Rwanda for development purposes, began to respond to humanitarian needs during the later part of the civil war. The war produced thousands of internally displaced persons in its early days, especially in the north where RPF attacks on Rwandan territory disrupted economic and civic activity. The movie identifies several themes that spring from the contingencies and complexities of war, and several points from the historical summary above that illuminate generic themes regarding the challenges to peacemaking. The fact that the response to the aftermath dwarfed in scale and commitment the response to the actual genocide was an irony not lost on Rwandans. The purpose of controlling the population was threefold: (1) the people were a form of political base for the deposed regime; (2) the refugees attracted massive aid flows, from which taxes could be extracted; and (3) the mounting of a major aid operation i, which had to operate with the consent of authorities, created a new alliance of interest between the ancien régime and its hosts, at both the local and national levels. Notwithstanding some initial lack of clarity about the point, the Canadian government made clear to the United Nations that the military force was not being provided for the purpose of separating armed elements from refugees, as some had hoped. Rather, the MNF would seek to secure humanitarian operations, perhaps by providing secure corridors for the return of refugees to Rwanda
Through the eyes of Paul and his family, viewers understand the tragedy and suffering of both ethnic groups. Tragically, humanitarian assistance in the genocide period was in fact one of the most significant dimensions of international engagement in the conflict. It doubtless saved tens of thousands of lives, and it was well intentioned. Still, its effects were not all salutary. In the political vacuum created by non-responses to the underlying security situation, humanitarian assistance in fact transformed the structure of the conflict at a critical juncture. The delivery of international aid provided means and method to Rwanda's extremist political structure to reinforce its strength and reengage its opponents. Second, the Rwandan conflict continued to exhibit the characteristic of a lack of cohesiveness among parties. The fractured nature of politics in particular makes it clear that there were not just two sides to the war but rather a spectrum of political opinions relating to the invasion and the peace process, ranging from compliant support to outright hostility. Again, a limited understanding of the fractures and complexities in politics would prove to be a salient factor in international peacemaking. First, it is evident that the Rwandan war did not conform to any neat pattern or cycle of escalation and de-escalation.
In sum, the movie proposes viewers a detailed description of causes and sufferings experienced by Hutu and Tutsi. That is to say, military perceptions and rhetoric were not merely features of war and part of its mechanics; they were tools of war. The same is true of security fears; clearly, episodes such as the killings in Burundi led to or reinforced security fears inherent in the war. Once again, however, they were also deliberately manipulated and amplified by the political leaders; they were not just features of war and they were tools of unfair and unjust war. Clearly, the inability of the international agencies to stop the war was evident. Invasions and military operations were a factor in the politics of the war and in the mobilization of fear and coerced compliance with the genocide. It is critical to note that at least to a certain extent these totalistic perceptions were not inherent features of the war but rather deliberate creations of the propaganda.