Friday, January 11, 2008

Beyond The Gates

Genocide: the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.

We all know what genocide is. It's horrible. It is stomach turning. It's brutal. It's hard to believe that it goes on around us even today. Last night, hubby and I had the opportunity to watch Beyond The Gates . It is the best movie we've seen in a very long time. It's brutal so if you have a weak stomach, maybe you should skip the movie and just research the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.


Based on true events and filmed in Rwanda with genocide survivors as cast and crew, BEYOND THE GATES tells their shared story of humanity in the most inhumane circumstances.

In April 1994, a secondary school in Kigali, Rwanda called the Ecole Technique Officielle (ETO), being used as a UN army base, became a refugee camp. Belgian UN troops, school children, NGO workers and over 2,500 Tutsi citizens and their sympathizers took refuge against a raging genocide while the Hutu militia, clad with machetes, clamored outside the school gates.

Five days later, the UN troops withdrew from the school, taking the whites with them. Within hours, almost all of the Rwandans were dead.

BEYOND THE GATES is about the choices we make when we are free to choose. In the tragic circumstances of the Ecole Technique Officielle, would you have left with the UN troops on the fifth day or would you have stayed?

Directed by Michael Caton-Jones and starring John Hurt, Hugh Dancy and Clare-Hope Ashitey, BEYOND THE GATES was co-produced by David Belton, Pippa Cross and Jens Meurer. Belton who also co-wrote the original story was a former BBC Newsnight correspondent stationed in Rwanda during the genocide.

End of Synopsis

This was such a moving story. It made me hopeful at times. It made me sad. It made me angry. It made me question our government, the United Nations, and humanity. I found myself laying in bed last night thinking about the conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi. It is an age old conflict centered around the status of each group. The Tutsi were in power; the Hutu were considered poor. The poor got tired of this and decided to kill all Tutsi, to snuff out the group so that Hutu would be the only remaining group. There's so much to ponder. There are so many questions. There are so many emotions. I just can't say enough about the quality of this film. It was so moving that it made me want to do something, anything. Since I can't go to Rwanda and do relief work, I decided that I will educate myself on the subject so that I might share it with others when the topic comes up.

I think as Americans, we sometimes feel we are beyond this type of situation.We think there's no way a civil war could break out here and people behave so brutally. Last night, my husband reminded me that this sort of thing is not beyond us. This country suffered terrible loss in 1861. Abraham Lincoln started a "civil war", not because slavery was his main concern, but because he would not have states secede from the Union.

This is just a well done movie and I can't say enough about it. As I mentioned above, the movie does show the brutality of the situation so use your own judgment when viewing it. We watched it without our children but will have our 13 year old watch it when we cover Rwanda in history. I hope if you watch this movie, that you are as moved by it as I was.


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Jenny said...

I really can't wait to see this...Pete and I watched Hotel Rowanda which I believe is the same story...not sure though. We both cried...but that's not surprising with Pete...he's a true softy! lol!

Up the Hill Gang