Paul “Ordinary” Rusesabagina

By August 1st, 2013

Family & Friends,

I just finished An Ordinary Man: An Autobiography. Mr “ordinary” is Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager at the hotel Mille Collines (aka “Hotel Rwanda”). The author says, “I am not a politician or a poet, nothing more than a hotel manager.” He persevered in his job when the Rwandan genocide broke out on April 6, 1994. “I did ordinary things that an ordinary man would do.” I would rather call him an “extraordinary man who did ordinary things at the constant risk of his life to save over 1,200 people.”

He faced drunken, power-hungry, murdering mobs trained with machetes. His tools were a five-story hotel, drinks, cash, one telephone and a tongue. He did what no one else would do – not the UN, not the US, not the international community. He tried to get his family out, but would not leave himself. He cajoled, flattered, bribed and sweet-talked his way through negotiations when he was the only one without a gun or a machete. He mined his list of phone numbers gained by serving the elite at his hotel, and begged for help. His exploits in the book seemed even greater than in the movie.

In the film “Hotel Rwanda” you feel the horror of violence, but rarely see it. More amazing is that Hollywood told the story that actually happened! It was God’s grace that a violence-loving Hollywood looked at 800,000 gruesome murders in 100 days and chose to tell the story of an ordinary man who displayed extraordinary love by risking his life to save others. That has “gospel” written all over it.


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