Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Silence is Complacency

Last night, Paul Rusesabagina, known for his efforts in saving over 1,200 Tutsis while general manager of a hotel during the Rwandan genocide, spoke at SJSU's Morris Daily Auditorium. Rusesabagina, who was depicted by Don Cheadle in the award winning film, Hotel Rwanda, sheltered the Tutsis for over 100 days in 1992, before fleeing to Belgium with his wife and family.

His message for the night: ordinary men must do the right thing. On his heroism, Rusesabagina said, "I never decided to take the risk, someone else, maybe God, made the decision for me... what I did was our duty and our obligation." His humbling remarks speak to the weight of the lessons he teaches.

"'Never again' are the two most abused words I hear today," said Rusesabagina, responding to those who decry the barbarism of the Holocaust but do nothing to stop atrocities like those being committed in Dafur. "It is happening again today."

The speech was pointed and insightful. On the topic of US and western foreign policy, he said, "observing gets a higher salary," adding, "behind every African dictatorship is a Western superpower."

"Silence is complacency," he said. "Today is the day to stand up."

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