I went to a “film night” tonight–an evening of watching a film followed by discussion. Tonight the film was Hotel Rwanda, a film I’d wanted to see since it first came out but had never gotten around to.
It’s now one of those films that I’m glad I saw…but that I’m not sure I want to see again. Not sure I can live it again.
I’d read the book Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza, a survivor of the massacres with an incredibly powerful story of forgiveness. Tonight’s movie put images with the story that she told…images that didn’t tell the worst of the situation, but that were hard enough to watch as is.
And I was reminded of the many ways we find to divide ourselves…to separate ourselves from each other. And the ways we find to dehumanize “the other”…whoever that might be. In the film tonight, I don’t recall one time hearing any of the Hutu characters referring to the Tutsis as anything other than “cockroaches.” I wish I could say, “But we don’t do that”…but I can’t. Not when I remember the various words that have been used in my lifetime to make a particular group of people somehow less than the group I belong to.
So how do we change? How do we find the courage that Paul Rusesabagina found to make a difference in people’s lives–over 1200 people’s lives–instead of saying “There’s nothing I can do”? Or that Oskar Schindler did, saving people from the gas chambers during the Holocaust? Or Irene Sendler, who smuggled children out of the Warsaw Ghetto, saving 2500?
I’m not any of those people…and I haven’t found myself in any situations that are that dangerous and life-threatening. But what are the things that I can do every day to make a difference? To make a difference in people’s lives…and to help be a peacemaker and reconciler? What opportunities have I missed in the past?
I can only pray that I truly live out being part of the creation of what I pray: “Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”