Ethnic And Religious Conflict In Hotel Rwanda

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Ethnicity and religion have been the cause of many conflicts around the world. This persecution due to fundamental differences has been illustrated throughout history, seen in the works of Elie Wiesel’s Night to Paul Rusesabagina’s The Ordinary Man and the movie based on the same experience, Hotel Rwanda. Destruction and disparity has stemmed from uncensored hatred. When mass genocides occur, many are segregated for their race and religion. Throughout these stories the characters must hide their true ambitions to stay alive. Their decision to do this is what enabled them to survive during times of anguish.

In the case of Night, Wiesel had to mask his emotions starting at the young age of 15. Wiesel hated the SS officers, as expressed by him writing “That was when I began to hate them.”(Wiesel P.19) Wiesel would force himself to respect the officers, even when he despised the thought of them. He knew officers could pull the trigger and kill a Jewish prisoner with no questions asked. Wiesel had to cover these angry emotions and mask them. Responding to the officers with “I nodded, once, ten times, endlessly”(Wiesel P.58). If Wiesel argued or disagreed with an officer, it’s likely he would be killed. Wiesel strategically masked his emotions which is what lead to his survival.

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In addition, in Ordinary Man and Hotel Rwanda, Rusesabagina fought hard to stay alive. Rusesabagina had to put aside his anger through the exerts even though everyone around him was being slaughtered. With this, Rusesabagina had to lie, manipulate, call high officials, and pay officers to stay alive. This is shown when Rusesabagina had sat down with generals who were killing his family and converse in Hotel Rwanda. Keeping calm and containing your anger is very important when you’re dealing with members who could essentially end your life in moments. Rusesabagina described his actions by writing “I acted friendly toward despicable people…I flattered them shamelessly. I said whatever I thought it would take to keep the people in my hotel from being killed”(Rusesabagina CR83) Rusesabagina knew if he wanted anyone to stay alive, he would have to coax the Hutus and the armies to do otherwise. This kept him and over a thousand people alive.

On the other hand, some may argue that revealing your emotions is valuable to stay alive. In the book Night, Wiesel fights to stay alive with his father Shlomo. They constantly check on each other throughout the book. They share bread and soup when they are both fighting to stay alive. However, this could lead to faster death in the end. By sharing bread and soup when Wiesel’s father is dying, he is wasting his own food that he could use to stay alive.(Wiesel 111) Sometimes hiding true emotions and relationships can leave many to see another day, even if it is harsh.

In conclusion, it is important to hide your emotions when it comes to a life or death situation. From Night in Germany to Ordinary Man in East Africa, genocide can occur worldwide. By masking their true identities, these men stay alive through some of the worst situations on Earth.


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