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H.I.V.E by Mark Walden

Count your books with me! Mwoarh!

Count your books with me! Mwoarh!

Monday, 29 August 2011

The amazing true story that inspired the film 'Hotel Rwanda'. Paul is a hotel manager in Kigali when the civil war breaks out and he takes in his terrified neighbours who are hiding from armed gangs looking to kill all Tutsi people and those, like Paul, who helps shelter them. They all seek refuge in the hotel where Paul uses every contact he has to keep the armed men away and keep his guests alive.

This man is truly inspiring. He risked his life to save over 1500 people who were on death lists, negotiating with murderers to keep them all safe. He had no help from the United Nations peacekeepers who mostly refuse to get involved with a few notable exceptions. He spends his time phoning contacts in Europe, begging for help to save these people under his care. Paul describes the fear, the lack of food and water, unsanitary conditions, the bribes to the would-be killers, dead mutilated bodies all over the city and the uncertainty of their fate. It is a disturbing book and I can't imagine what those people went through. The heroism of this amazing, modest man cannot be spoken of enough.

I get angry when I read stories like this because the international community seems to sit and shrug, changing channels on the TV when genocide is taking place under their very noses. I know there are difficulties, but jeez what is the POINT in having peacekeepers there who just turn away when the killing starts and abandon innocent people to their fates? There is no point saying how terrible these things are and doing nothing to stop it. Maybe these nations should declare that they have oil or a similar attractive commodity and then the international community might try to save them. We're happy to aid the rebels in Libya because of oil but how long did it take to help the people in the Balkans? YEARS! And if Tony Blair hadn't intervened and forced Bill Clinton to agree to step in with him, we might never have helped those people. Grrr. We need to place more value on human life everywhere and The UN need to pull their heads out of their bums and start getting its hands dirty. OK, rant over.

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