The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. -Elie Wiesel
On Tuesday, my husband and I borrowed Beyond the Gates from the public library. I had identified it as a movie I wanted to watch because Hotel Rwanda, another, more widely known film on the subject of the genocide in Rwanda, had been described to me as an extremely brutal experience. For some reason I assumed Beyond the Gates would be an easier watch. After all the talk about Hotel Rwanda, Beyond the Gates couldn't possibly be worse.
I couldn't possibly have been more wrong.
I came to the conclusion that the folks who made this movie had an agenda in mind. They wanted us, the viewers, to see what the people of Rwanda experienced, and they didn't want to mince any words. We started watching the movie on Tuesday night, but turned it off after about 30 minutes because I realized how much it was upsetting my husband, who grew up in Kenya for 16 years, and for whom this movie and others on the subject are so very personal.
Wednesday while my husband was at work, I decided to finish the movie. It was a dreadful experience, but one I think I needed. When the Rwandan genocide was happening, I was in South Korea with my military family, graduating from highschool and preparing to move back to the US. I remember hearing about it, but before yesterday, I couldn't really have told you what happened or why, or why I now know so many people, both foreign and US citizens, who are disillusioned with US foreign policy and the United Nations.
I weep for Rwanda, for Somalia, for Sudan and Zimbabwe and Kenya, and I find quite suddenly that I am ashamed of my ignorance, of the ethnocentricism of my country, and the tendency of white westerners to forget the KKK in the south, the Holocaust, Stalin's Soviet Union, and so many other examples of the depravity we share with the rest of humanity, and sit back and say that this is just what happens in Africa.