5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A personal and touching account of the darker side of humanity,
This review is from: An Ordinary Man: The True Story Behind 'Hotel Rwanda' (Hardcover)
You like me are probably drawn to this book from watching the film 'Hotel Rwanda' which highlighted the plight of the many Rwandan's who suffered at the hands of their neighbours and once close friends, but perhaps more sickening the European community at large by their failure to intervene. I was very touched by the nature of this book, it's delivery fairly objective in what, let's face it, was an emotionally terrifying and charged time - being calm and with an understated eloquence wasn't what I expected. Don't get me wrong, the descriptions of the violence aren't shyed away from and are doubly shocking for their detail, it is the understanding of human nature and the wisdom of Mr Rusesabagina that permeates the writing and gives the sense of calm.
There are many lessons to be learned from the book and it delivers them up plentifully and masterfully one of which shows that situations that force you to face your own mortality crystallise those things around you into simple rules/principles. There is a revealing of the 'truth' in the relations of things; your choices are limited and you operate on the basis of the most basic pragmatism - the preservation of life. The complications our lives have are born out of choice and the luxury associated with it built up in layers and are in the most simple illusions - our wants and needs confused.
The points made in the book echo an understanding of humanity and demonstrate a refreshing show of common sense and self reliance providing great lessons for those receptive to it. It is also good at revealing the psychology of a people and how it is built by their culture and social practice and how it can be exploited by the powers in government - in this case to disastrous consequences! ( actually in most cases - eventually!) The author also shows the importance of maintaining a discipline with yourself and considering longterm consequences of negative activity against your fellows no matter how trivial - a good lesson as these will come back and haunt you in due time.
Paul Rusesabagina is a great man have no doubts, he humbly rejects the title of hero but really there is no clearer definition than this account of a mans stand against insanity. All normality around him was crumbling yet he remained steadfast in his conviction to preserve life relying on the simple truths he knew about people and the power of communication, these things I realised were the unchangeable anchors that kept him sane.
A great book with cherished lessons but disturbing afterthoughts.