The Tutsis were traditionally the landholders and the Hutus were the poorer farmers. When the Belgians colonized Rwanda, they gave more power to the Hutus. After Rwanda became independent, the resentment of the majority Hutus started simmering. The Hutus started dehumanizing the Tutsis by calling them "cockroaches". The film begins with a virulent and hate-filled broadcast by the RTLM, the national radio station. "Why do we hate the Tutsis They are cockroaches!" it says, inciting racial violence.
The reactions of the different groups of people to the massacre are varied. When the violence starts, some of the Hutu employees of the hotel stop working and keep listening to the radio with its hate filled propaganda. One Hutu employee occupies the Presidential suite and says to Paul, "There is the smell of cockroaches here." The response of the foreign nationals is mainly cynical The UN peacekeepers are incapable of any assertive action, because they have been instructed not to intervene .Their inaction is explained by Col. Oliver's words, "We are peace keepers, not peace makers." Even when the jeering Hutu militia men throw a blood stained UN soldier's helmet at them, reminding them of their murdered Belgian comrades, they can do nothing. When Red Cross workers bring Tutsi children from an orphanage to the hotel to escape massacre by the militia, the Western guests of the hotel do nothing to help them.. The journalists are intent on getting as much footage as possible, including some of the gruesome killings by machete. One journalist says cynically, "If people see this footage, they'll go, 'Oh my God! That's horrible!, and then go on eating their dinner." The final act of callousness by the foreigners is when they all leave under the escort of UN peace keeping force, leaving behind the victims to their fate.
There are various reasons why the international community turned the other way when the massacre was happening. The U.S.A and the European nations did not do anything to stop it because Rwanda has neither oil nor any great mineral wealth. Rwanda being an African nation of black people was another reason for the inaction. The harassed Col. Oliver sums up the opinion of the West when he says, "You are dirt!"
Finally, Paul also realizes the truth- that the people whom they trusted, have abandoned them. In a poignant scene, after all the whites have left , Paul says to the refugees in the hotel, "We have been abandoned. There will be no rescue. We can only save ourselves" We see Paul's cleverness .in another scene when the Hutu army comes to take away the Tutsi refugees in the hotel by force. Paul telephones the owner of the hotel chain in Belgium., and the owner asks Paul who should be called to stop it. Showing great acuity, Paul says,"The French. They are the ones arming and supplying the army" Very soon, the Hutu general receives a radio message not to disturb the hotel. The hotel owner had talked directly to the French President.
A disquieting but uplifting movie, Hotel Rwanda is the portrayal of a courageous man, who, by using his wits,