Monday, February 28, 2005

The Real Hotel Rwanda

Today's NYT International section contains an article on the real Hotel Rwanda in Kigali - a nice antidote to the hoopla surrounding the movie and the Oscars.

The Hôtel des Mille Collines has managed to endure the traumatic events of 1994, depicted so forcefully in the movie "Hotel Rwanda," but much like Rwanda as a whole, it cannot shake the memory of the killing frenzy that took place just outside its leafy grounds and that left 800,000 or more ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead.

Here, far from the glitter of Hollywood and the fanfare of the Academy Awards, there are no physical reminders of those awful events. No plaque honors the bravery that occurred here. No memorial remembers the many Rwandans who did not manage to make it to safety inside.

The hotel, which was owned by the now bankrupt Belgian airline company Sabena, is on the auction block, and the thinking is that potential buyers are more interested in revamping the 32-year-old property for the future than in dwelling too much on its past.

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