Saturday, June 18, 2005
Paul Rusesabagina, the real-life hero portrayed in the film “Hotel Rwanda”, visited Atlanta, Ga. and Washington, D.C. this week to address American students and business leaders at schools and conferences centers. His appearances coincide with World Refugee Day events in Washington.
At Sleepy Hollow Elementary School in the Falls Church section of Fairfax County, he spoke to elementary school students who had learned about his accomplishments in the weeks prior to his appearance.
“I thought I was doing the right thing,” Rusesabagina said. “You also should do the right thing.” He explained the situation he faced in simple terms. “There were bad people and good people. The good people came to hide in my hotel, I had to give them food. I had to give them shelter and keep away the bad people for two and a half months.” When asked if he was scared, he responded “No, fortunately I did not have time to be scared. I did not know that what I was doing was different. I thought other people were doing it.”
In Atlanta, speaking with business leaders, he focused on the present and future.
“What is going on in Darfur is exactly what had been going on in Rwanda, the government is killing its own citizens.” He encouraged business leaders to bring money into Africa but made it clear that Africa was in need of more than just business interest. “What Africans need as a whole is not only someone who will come and pay their education, but it is also to change the systems in Africa. To help us to change, to find lasting solutions. Africa is ruled by dictators. And those dictators should know that one day they also can be brought to justice,” emphasizing the idea that Africa needed a political revamping to stabilize.