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Copy of Copy of An Ordinary Man

A presentation indicating the themes, symbols and concepts in Paul Rusesabagina's novel, "An Ordinary Man."
by

aidan barber

on 23 May 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Copy of An Ordinary Man

An Ordinary Man originally by: Kayleigh, Jordan, Liam, Kristen, Sophia and Hailey Genocide Demonizing The Other Demonizing The Other Symbols Summary of the novel About the author As Rwanda was thrown into chaos during the 1994 genocide, an ordinary man, Paul Rusesabagina who was a hotel manager, turns the deluxe Hotel Milles Collines into a safe place for refuges, sheltering thousands of people from the Tutsi clan and Hutus who did not want any part in the raged mobs that were equipped with machetes .He did this all while confronting and fending off the killers with a combination of diplomacy and deception. In this novel, Paul tells the story of his childhood and how he accidentally fell into being a hero . Also he revisits the horrifying 100 days when many events occurred, in which Paul thought he was going to loose his life and his family . All in all, this book tells about his life as a refuge and activist. Dictionary.com defines Genocide as “the policy of deliberately killing a nationality or ethnic group.” In An Ordinary Man by Paul Rusesabagina, Genocide was especially true due to the deliberate slaughtering of the Tutsi by the Hutu people and they accepted their fate without protest. As discussed in lecture on Thursday, November 15, 2012, Genocide includes 5 main parts, which are all relevant to An Ordinary Man. The two ethnic Rwandan tribes, The Hutu and The Tutsi declared hatred on one another by a) causing physical and mental harm, b) by killing members of the opposite ethnic group, c) which destroyed lives, d) and prevented reproduction and e) removed children from their families. In Barbara Coloraso's writings about genocide, she says “ a bully rises to power, is elected to political office, or seizes control of a government. The bully then brings along bystanders and creates a murderous racial, ethnic, or religious ideology. “ These situations turn ordinary citizens into participants in the extermination of relatives, neighbors, and fellow citizens. The more that ordinary people perform such tasks as killing off other ethnic groups then the more it becomes a social norm. This theme relates back to the book as the Hutus performed the Rwandan Genocide by using clubs and machetes against the Tutsi who were at one time their friends and perhaps neighbours. The Genocide became a one sided mass murder committed by the Hutus who felt they were the elite and wanted to rise to power and seize control by showing their dominance against the Tutsi. The Hutus fell prey to genocidal madness. Barbara goes on to say that stereotyping and prejudice play a part in enabling us to turn a blind eye. An Ordinary Man clearly demonstrates the evil of genocide by the hundreds of bystanders failing to put a stop to the Rawandan Genocide. There were warnings signs as there was hatred among the Hutu’s and Tutsi’s years before, but there was no way to take over the mass media and change civilians minds from wrong to right which resulted in the failure of humanity. In lecture on Thursday November 15, we learned Dr. Gregory Stanton’s eight stages of genocide. All eight stages are relatable to An Ordinary Man. Stage 1 Classification: “ Us Vs. Them” also known as “Othering” is an example of the Hutu’s and Tutis’s. Although they are both mankind, the Hutu’s show their ethic and racial dominance. Stage 2 Symbolization: “Use of Hate Symbols”. The Belgians introduced ID cards symbolizing the differences of the two tribes signifying their distinct differences. Stage 3 Dehumanization: “Vilification of Other Group”. The Tutsi’s dehumanized the Hutu’s by calling them “farmers” “peasants” etc. and making them appear less than human. Therefore, the Hutu’s reacted and began the Genocide against the Tutsi’s. Stage 4 Organization: “ Planning for Killings”. The Hutu’s trained and armed militias and gave clubs and machetes to civilians. Stage 5 Polarization: “Broadcasting Propaganda”. The Hutu’s ensured the sharp division of their people from the Tutsi people and suppressed them to the point that they gave up hope and surrendered to death. The media broadcasted the Tutsi’s evils and lead to their demise as everyone bought into the fact that the Hutu’s were superior and that the Tutsi’s should be wiped out as a race. Stage 7 Extermination: “ Mass Killings”. The Rwandan Genocide killed more than half a million people in only a few months not by gas chambers as was used in the Holocaust but with machetes and clubs and hatred momentum. Stage 8 Denial: “ Cover up evidence”. Genocide denial is trying to legitimize the reasons for the killings. The Hutu people rationalized the murders as stating it was necessary and that they had been suppressed for year’s prior and that they deserved everything they got. Stage 6 Preparation: “Identification and Isolation”. The murders took place within only a few months because of army officers who were carefully organized and so was the Rwandan government and society. ID cards were made so that it was clear who was Tutsi and who was Hutu. In summary, the theme of Genocide evidently fits perfectly step by step with An Ordinary Man it is extremely relatable and helps for a better understanding of the content. Words became weapons against the innocent. Age and gender did not matter to the bloodthirsty militiamen and their supporters, "A cockroach cannot give birth to a butterfly", wrote Hassan Ngeze. The diction used by those on the RTLM (the radio station used to propagate these beliefs), show that dehumanizing words and phrases like "cockroach" and "clearing the brush" in addition to outright hate songs like "I Hate These Hutus", show that it is first necessary to dehumanize before one can be demonized. The militia and their uniforms also serve as symbols of demonization. The presence of military along with the presentation of a formal uniform befitting a soldier demonstrates the level of justification held by the Hutu leaders in their condemnation and attempted extermination of the Tutsis and those that would assist them. The uniform represents an "Us or Them" mentality, Hutus that did not agree with the racially charged politics of the time we considered as profoundly immoral as the Tutsis and were just as vulnerable to being killed along with them. The militia themselves show what would have been perceived by their supporters as true patriots acting in the best interests of their country by murdering and disposing of those who had previously done their racial faction wrong in the past. The Tutsis of Rwanda were demonized by their Hutu countrymen by being referred to as "cockroaches." The act of killing a Tutsi was colloquially referred to as "clearing the brush." This served not only to dehumanize the Tutsis, but also to demonize them, to make them seem evil and traitorous. Tutsis were not the only ones that were portrayed as evil. Neutral or uncooperative Hutus, those that refused to take part in these racial purges were condemned by their fellow Hutus in a song sung by Simon Bikindi called "I Hate These Hutus." This made those Hutus that were sympathetic to the Tutsis' plight seem like immoral traitors. Paul Rusesabagina, the writer and main character of the novel "An Ordinary Man," is a Rwandan man who is officially considered a humanitarian because of his ability to shelter refugees during the Rwandan genocide. He managed to shelter 1268 people with his connections and influence in society by managing the hotel “Mille Collines”; not a single refugee he sheltered was injured or killed during the genocide.

Born in 1954, he is now 58 years old. He is half Hutu and half Tutsi, but because Rwanda follows the father’s side, he was considered a Hutu and therefore was spared. Growing up, he was one of 9 children in his family, and considering their heritage; they were always taught to ignore the ancient hatreds brewing in Rwanda.

Currently, Paul is living in Belgium with his second wife Tatiana, as well as his four children. He is also president of a foundation he created called the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, which hopes to prevent future genocide and help with the reconciliation process in Rwanda.

To this day the rewards he received consist of:

• Immortal Chaplains Prize for Humanity (2000)

• Highest Civilian Award, United States (2005)

• Presidential Medal of Freedom, from George Bush (2005)

• National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award (2005)

• Humanitarian Award, from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation (2005 Demonizing the "Other" basically addresses how demonizing works. Demonization is when a human is to strip a person or group of people of moral beauty entirely, assigning to them all immoral and evil attributes existing in society. It reduces a human to a subhuman or nonhuman meaning, they are separated from the rest . When this reduction happens, addressing a group of humans as not human, it enables destruction of the other without guilt or remorse. Demonization does involve: being the opposite of good, illusion and delusion, obstruction to performing ritual, abuse of power, disturbance of social hierarchies and relationships. It also involves suffering and frustration of life and death, others considered of as enemy and threat and there is this obstacle to relate to and with the gods.

Essentially, demonizing means portraying an individual or group as profoundly evil or immoral. Thus , it dehumanizes them in the process. In the book “An Ordinary Man”, the Tutsis are the ones that were demonized. They were referred to as cockroach and the act of killing them was called "clearing the brush" or "cutting down the trees". This played off of racial stereotypes which effectively dehumanized the Tutsis . It allowed for them to be "othered". The world is always made up of “Us” and “Them”- those who share a moral order and those who do not share it . So, it's an "Us or Them" outlook, by distancing themselves from the Tutsis, the Hutus were able to identify them as the enemy. Also, Hutus reduced the Tutsis to subhumans or non humans because they perceived them to evil and bad . Therefore, it enabled the destructible cause of mass murder of the genocide of the Tutsis clan , done by the Hutus without guilt and remorse. They were willing to kill the people who they had demonized. This demonstrates how there is always differences among individuals or groups of people. Two different outlooks of moral order heightens hostility and ethnocentrism occurs which is often at the base of demonization. It causes separation and can lead to a threatening outcome. Which would be the Rwanda genocide talked about in the book as a result of differences and perceived notions where each of the two clans had on each other. Demonization can be a form of scapegoating in the most extreme way. This demonization may be the result of the self-perception of extreme guilt and perception of the Other as the source of evil. The Other would be considered to be the Tutsis due to the fact the Hutus perceive them to be evil and want to essentially eliminate them . Looking at the “Us” and “Them” mentality , the Tutsis would be considered the “ them” which is the bad and evil perceived by the Hutus and the Hutus would be considered the “Us” which is the good. Works Cited Rusesabagina, Paul and Tom Zoellner. An Ordinary Man.New York: Penguin Books, 2007. Print.

McKean, Erin. The new Oxford American dictionary. 2nd ed. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 2005. Print; Rusesabagina, Paul and Tom Zoellner. An Ordinary Man.New York: Penguin Books, 2007. Print.

Cooper, J.C. An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2011. Print.


How is this story a response to the different "evils" mentioned? The re-telling of this story by Paul Rusesabagina is crucial to our understanding of what went on during the Rwanda genocide. The novel is an inside-look into the goings-on in the hotel, the horrid things that happened on the outside, as well as Paul's contribution and efforts to protect the Tutsi people. Within the novel, as well as the real-life event, one cannot begin to fathom the othering, and demonization of the Tutsi people, as well as scapegoating and the banality of evil that also went on. In truth, the story is the best way in which to identify these evils, and furthermore acts as an outlet for Paul to be rid of, and share with the world what he experienced. The story as a whole is a response to the evil that occurred during the Rwandan genocide, and pin-points the very essence of evil witnessed by Paul Rusesabagina, and the sacrifice he had to go through in order to stand up for what he believed in. Those who bring about danger, trouble or crisis to the community are of two categories:
1. Those who are within the community but violate its moral codes
2. Those outside the community who do not share the same moral order and thereby threaten the well-being of the community BY: Aidan
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