Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Value of Black Life - Food for thought

My day began quite ordinarily and ended extraordinarily. I found out that Paul Rusesabagina, he of the Hotel Rwanda fame, was to speak on his experiences during the genocide that took place in April, 1994 in Rwanda. He was the main speaker at a "Critical Issues Series" organized by the Ohio State University Hillel. Watching the movie was in itself a harrowing experience. However, hearing first hand accounts of the atrocities of Africans shedding their brothers and sisters blood was to say the least, saddening, excruciating and mind numbing. I cannot begin to place myself in his shoes for those 100 days of slaughter and thereafter. I do not believe that I would have had the courage that he and so many others possessed and showed in the face of impending death. When asked how he had found the strength to do what he did, he simply replied that his advisor i.e his conscience, would not have allowed him to forsake his friends and the refugees at the Milles Collines Hotel. He also spoke about Darfur - which brings me to the title of this post.
One of the questions fielded to him was if he thought that the World has shown that Black Life is of no or little value. His response was to use an example of how world leaders marked the holocaust at Auschwitz (btw, Cheney's comment in this article left me flummoxed - as if such events in far off places would be justifiable). If you read that article and I highly encourage reading it, it makes you wonder what about that promise "Never again" changed when it came to people of Black skin. Case in point again would be Katrina (no need to recapitulate here). His second point was on Milosevic who killed at least 10, 000 Yugoslavians and yet was arrested and indicted in the Hague via the intelligence network of the so called developed countries. What is so different about the perpertrators of crimes against humanity in Africa? Could not the same 'intelligence" that was used to capture Milosevic be used in Rwanda, Darfur, the Congo?
Nonetheless, charity begins at home. We as Africans must stand up as one and begin to understand that our lives are ours to value and that no one will come to rescue us if we cannot rescue ourselves. Sad thing is how does one rescue oneself from oneself? I found Rusesabagina to not only be a captivating speaker but also a humble and straightfoward man. I am yet to read his book An Ordinary Man: An Autobiography however it is on my current list of books that i plan on reading.

5 Comments:

Blogger Girl next door said...

Hearing first-hand accounts of the genocide must have been very emotional. Paul Rusesabagina is a a very honorable man. When I watched Hotel Rwanda, the tears were flowing. I agree with your statement that "We as Africans must stand up as one and begin to understand that our lives are ours to value and that no one will come to rescue us if we cannot rescue ourselves." It's obviously complicated, but we seem to place little value on ourselves, so how can we expect outsiders to value us?

4/27/2006 01:49:00 AM  
Blogger dangerously_shy said...

Paul is an amazing man and I for one would give anything for the honour of having him recount his experiences personally, Don Cheadle did a top notch job but i would rather get it straight from the horses mouth. I cannot add any more, girl next door's word say it all.

5/01/2006 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Michuzi said...

Hi!

i like ur blog. keep it up. its so mind provoking and educative

5/08/2006 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger Kabinti said...

michuzi, thank you for stopping by.

5/08/2006 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Kabinti said...

apologies to gnd and dshy. for some strange reason i thought i had replied to your comments. samahani tafadhali.
@ gnd - yes it was very emotional and the man can be classified as an angel of God in one of the darkest hours of our continent. Hopefully as the younger generation of africans we can slowly change our world by noting that we are of our own value and no one else's
@ dshy - you are right Don Cheadle did an incredible job in portraying Mr Rusesabagina. It was great just listening to him and hearing it first hand was more personal than watching the movie.

5/08/2006 11:57:00 AM  

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