Nancy's Reviews > An Ordinary Man: An Autobiography

An Ordinary Man by Paul Rusesabagina
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's review
Oct 06, 2010

really liked it

I've never seen the movie Hotel Rwanda (watching it soon, though!) so this book was a real eye-opener. I must have been asleep in 1994. Or maybe I was going through a divorce (yes). But I don't remember this story on the news. Maybe I'm just still as self-centered as I've always been. Whatever, I found the whole story appalling, and, even more so, that the U.S. didn't intervene while thousands of people were being literally butchered in the streets. Even though Rusesabagina claims to be an ordinary man, that is hardly the case. Whether he wants to be called a hero or not, he was certainly brave, especially when he chose to stay in Rwanda rather than escape.

One thing that really scares me about the story is the fact that the whole massacre started with the propaganda and lies on a radio station. Sound familiar? While I would like to think Americans would never hack each other to death with machetes, I don't think we are too far from the spirit that invaded Rwanda. Here's a quote from the book that really struck me. "Facts are almost irrelevant to most people. We make decisions based on emotion and then justify them later with whatever facts we can scrounge up in our defense. . . . the ethnic violence was only a tool for a set of cynical men to hold on to their power -- which is perhaps man's ultimate emotional craving." He also talks about how the leaders of Rwanda "whipped up the flames of fear..." It just all sounded too familiar and now I might be a little afraid myself....
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Reading Progress

October 6, 2010 – Shelved
October 22, 2010 – Started Reading
October 30, 2010 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Nancy J. (new)

Nancy J. Oh my, Nancy! You are so right on target. I have not read the book, and don't know if I want to after watching the movie. Maybe we Americans need to read it and take to heart the lessons to be learned.

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