Fix the body issue Little Tanya bday party Stop the shepherd girl bidding Ultrasound scan, 8 am. Mother-in-law missed 9 Galya hotel manager outgoing Galya hotel manager missed 5 Flora wholesale incoming Sveta with curls incoming Artem husband incoming Bakery outgoing Gulya flower shop incoming Katya daughter outgoing Volodya driver outgoing yesterday.
Darya coach incoming yesterday. Unknown incoming yesterday. AC VIP client incoming yesterday. Armen client incoming yesterday. Artem husband outgoing yesterday. Little Tanya daughter outgoing yesterday. Little Tanya daughter incoming yesterday. Maxim S client incoming yesterday. Sveta with curls outgoing two days ago. Unknown incoming two days ago. Unknown missed two days ago. Prenatal Care outgoing two days ago. Artem husband incoming two days ago. Volodya driver incoming two days ago. Denis from Armen missed two days ago. Sergey new client missed two days ago. Sveta with curls Marina, my friend Zhenya wants to start earning too… Shes beautiful and attractive.
A virgin. Will U look at her? When will we meet? Prenatal Care Clinic Hi, Marina, you have an appointment for an ultrasound scan at office on October 12 at Artem husband The babys going to be fine, dont worry. Will be home by Gulya flower shop Marina Sergeyevna, we are out of roses, we need a new supply. Volodya driver Marina Sergeyevna, the car broke down, I need the money to repair it Bakery Your birthday cake is ready!
Please, pick it up anytime today before Katya daughter Y am I always babysitting Tanya? R U parents o wut??? Ive got my own life! Its the last time Im doing this only coz its her bday! Zhenya shepherd girl Hello, Marina. Have you heard from Sveta? She hasnt been home for two days, I dont know why Mother-in-law Where the hell are you??? Our poor little Tanya has been crying for 3 hours behind the closed door!!! Unknown I shag your husband.
Sveta with curls. Two days ago. Sveta, hi. Have you fixed the problem you mentioned? Hey, Marina. Yes, its getting better, thx. Im ready to work. You have an appointment at Chaika hotel on Tuesday at , remember? Sure do. Even bought new lingerie. BTW how muchs he paying? J Okay, keep me posted. Marina, my friend Zhenya wants to start earning too… Shes beautiful and attractive. Hi, Marina, you have an appointment for an ultrasound scan at office on October 12 at Artem husband. Artem, when will you be home? I will have to come later, have problems at the shop.
Marina, sweetie, Im running late too, the surgery has been rescheduled. Mama will babysit the kids. Sure, how can we manage without her. Okay, see you J Ive got an appointment for an ultrasound scan at the clinic tomorrow at 8. Can you go with me? Do you remember about our baby daughters birthday tomorrow? The celebration starts at Marina, honey, Ill go with you. Of course I remember about our sweet Tanya, Ive already got a day off. Well done xx Sorry I had to go. Of course, they cant perform a surgery without me The babys going to be fine, dont worry.
Gulya flower shop. Gulya we are having cash shortages all the time. I cant get why. Ill come by and well sort it out. I never noticed. There must be some mistake. Marina Sergeyevna, we are out of roses, we need a new supply. Volodya driver. Marina Sergeyevna, I think Gulya is stealing from you Volodya, please, mind your own business. I will take care. Okay… I meant well Marina Sergeyevna, the car broke down, I need the money to repair it Your birthday cake is ready!
Katya daughter. Mum, give me 5k rub. I have this thing at uni and we R chipping in. Katya, how many times this month youve needed the money? I will, but, please, be more careful with money! Thx, mummy!!! Katya, where are you? I cant reach you. You need to spend some time with little Tanya, while im getting all ready for her birthday.
Mum, Im uni. Little Tanya and I are on our way to you. Y am I always babysitting Tanya? Galya hotel manager. Galya, Sveta has an appointment on Tuesday at , get the room ready, please.
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Marina, OK, I got it. Marina, its room , 6th floor. Okay, thanks. Come to the hotel ASAP, your hooker seems very dead! Zhenya shepherd girl. Marina Sergeyevna, I sent you the medical certificate, made photos, bought lingerie. Whats next? Ill call later and tell you everything.
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Hello, Marina. Sweet little Tanya is having a birthday soon! How do we celebrate? Well have a party at home. At around I will get everything ready by myself, come at straight to the celebration. Marina, darling, I will come earlier to help you! You must be running out of time for your family again Okay, as you wish.
I will buy food, and Ive already ordered the cake. Well, I hope so! Where the hell are you??? Our poor baby Tanya has been crying for 3 hours behind the closed door!!! I shag your husband Marina my contact. Little Tanya daughter. Armen client. AC VIP client. Vadim photographer.
Tom Hanks on “Factory Man”:
Rose flower. Darya coach. Denis from Armen new client. Wild Orchid. Wild Angel. Prenatal Care. Luberetsky escort service. Maxim S client. Michael VIP. Nickolay Happy Kids, clown. Sergey medical certificates. Flora wholesale. Wind Rose. Sergey new client. Stanislav woman's doctor. White Flower. Full name: Marina Sergeyevna Lavrova. Age: But the difference between Hutu and Tutsi means everything in Rwanda.
In the late spring and early summer of it meant the difference between life and death. Between April 6, when the plane of President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down with a missile, and July 4, when the Tutsi rebel army captured the capital of Kigali, approximately eight hundred thousand Rwandans were slaughtered. This is a number that cannot be grasped with the rational mind. It is like trying—all at once—to understand that the earth is surrounded by billions of balls of gas just like our sun across a vast blackness.
You cannot understand the magnitude. Just try! Eight hundred thousand lives snuffed out in one hundred days. More than five lives per minute. Each one of those lives was like a little world in itself. Some person who laughed and cried and ate and thought and felt and hurt just like any other person, just like you and me.
Many went slowly from slash wounds, watching their own blood gather in pools in the dirt, perhaps looking at their own severed limbs, oftentimes with the screams of their parents or their children or their husbands in their ears. Their bodies were cast aside like garbage, left to rot in the sun, shoveled into mass graves with bulldozers when it was all over.
It was not the largest genocide in the history of the world, but it was the fastest and most efficient. Take four hours away from one hundred days and you have an idea of just how little I was able to accomplish against the grand design.
What did I have to work with? I had a five-story building. I had a cooler full of drinks. I had a small stack of cash in the safe. And I had a working telephone and I had my tongue. Anybody with a gun or a machete could have taken these things away from me quite easily. My disappearance—and that of my family—would have barely been noticed in the torrents of blood coursing through Rwanda in those months. Our bodies would have joined the thousands in the east-running rivers floating toward Lake Victoria, their skins turning white with water rot.
There were a few things in my favor, but they do not explain everything. I was a Hutu because my father was Hutu, and this gave me a certain amount of protection against immediate execution. Under the standards of mad extremism at work then I was a prime candidate for a beheading. Another surface advantage: I had control of a luxury hotel, which was one of the few places during the genocide that had the image of being protected by soldiers.
But the important word in that sentence is image. In the opening days of the slaughter, the United Nations had left four unarmed soldiers staying at the hotel as guests. This was a symbolic gesture. I was also able to bargain for the service of five Kigali policemen. But I knew these men were like a wall of tissue paper standing between us and a flash flood. I remembered all too well what had happened at a place called Official Technical School in a suburb called Kicukiro, where nearly two thousand terrified refugees had gathered because there was a small detachment of United Nations soldiers staying there.
The killing and dismemberment started just minutes later. It would have been better if the soldiers had never been there to offer the illusion of safety. Even the vaguest rumor of rescue had been fatal to those on the wrong side of the racial divide. They had clustered in one spot and made it easy for their executioners to find them.
And I knew my hotel could become an abattoir just like that school. Yet another of my advantages was a very strange one. I knew many of the architects of the genocide and had been friendly with them. It was, in a way, part of my job. I was the general manager of a hotel called the Diplomates, but I was eventually asked to take charge of a sister property, the nearby Hotel Mille Collines, where most of the events described in this book took place.
The Mille Collines was the place in Kigali where the power classes of Rwanda came to meet Western businessmen and dignitaries. Before the killing started I had shared drinks with most of these men, served them complimentary plates of lobster, lit their cigarettes. I knew the names of their wives and their children. I had stored up a large bank of favors. I cashed them all in—and then borrowed heavily— during the genocide.
My preexisting friendship with General Augustin Bizimungu in particular helped save the Mille Collines from being raided many times over. But alliances always shift, particularly in the chaos of war, and I knew my supply of liquor and favors would run dry in some crucial quarters. Before the hundred days were over a squad of soldiers was dispatched to kill me. I survived only after a desperate half hour during which I called in even more favors. I will never forget walking out of my house the first day of the killings. There were people in the streets who I had known for seven years, neighbors of mine who had come over to our place for our regular Sunday cookouts.
These people were wearing military uniforms that had been handed out by the militia. They were holding machetes and were trying to get inside the houses of those they knew to be Tutsi, those who had Tutsi relatives, or those who refused to go along with the murders. There was one man in particular whom I will call Peter, though that is not his real name. He was a truck driver, about thirty years old, with a young wife. The best word I can use to describe him is an American word: cool. Peter was just a cool guy; so nice to children, very gentle, kind of a kidder, but never mean with his humor.
I saw him that morning wearing a military uniform and holding a machete dripping in blood. Watching this happen in my own neighborhood was like looking up at a blue summer sky and seeing it suddenly turning to purple. The entire world had gone mad around me. The parents of these people had been told over and over again that they were uglier and stupider than the Tutsis.
They were told they would never be as physically attractive or as capable of running the affairs of the country. It was a poisonous stream of rhetoric designed to reinforce the power of the elite. When the Hutus came to power they spoke evil words of their own, fanning the old resentments, exciting the hysterical dark places in the heart.
The words put out by radio station announcers were a major cause of the violence.
A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer
There were explicit exhortations for ordinary citizens to break into the homes of their neighbors and kill them where they stood. Clean your neighborhood. Do your duty. If a person was able to run away his position and direction of travel were broadcast and the crowd followed the chase over the radio like a sports event.
The avalanche of words celebrating racial supremacy and encouraging people to do their duty created an alternate reality in Rwanda for those three months. It was an atmosphere where the insane was made to seem normal and disagreement with the mob was fatal. Rwanda was a failure on so many levels. It started as a failure of the European colonists who exploited trivial differences for the sake of a divide-and-rule strategy. It was the failure of Africa to get beyond its ethnic divisions and form true coalition governments.
It was a failure of Western democracies to step in and avert the catastrophe when abundant evidence was available. It was a failure of the United States for not calling a genocide by its right name. It was the failure of the United Nations to live up to its commitments as a peacemaking body.
All of these come down to a failure of words. But they can also be powerful tools of life. They may be the only ones. Today I am convinced that the only thing that saved those 1, people in my hotel was words. Not the liquor, not money, not the UN. Just ordinary words directed against the darkness. They are so important. I used words in many ways during the genocide—to plead, intimidate, coax, cajole, and negotiate. I was slippery and evasive when I needed to be. I acted friendly toward despicable people. I put cartons of champagne into their car trunks. I flattered them shamelessly.
I said whatever I thought it would take to keep the people in my hotel from being killed. I had no cause to advance, no ideology to promote beyond that one simple goal. Those words were my connection to a saner world, to life as it ought to be lived. I am not a politician or a poet. I built my career on words that are plain and ordinary and concerned with everyday details. I am nothing more or less than a hotel manager, trained to negotiate contracts and charged to give shelter to those who need it.
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My job did not change in the genocide, even though I was thrust into a sea of fire. I only spoke the words that seemed normal and sane to me. I did what I believed to be the ordinary things that an ordinary man would do. I said no to outrageous actions the way I thought that anybody would, and it still mystifies me that so many others could say yes. My father was a farmer, my mother his helper. Our house was made of mud and sticks.
We were about a mile away from the nearest village. The first world I can remember was green and bright, full of cooking fires and sisters murmuring and drying sorghum and corn leaves in the wind and the warm arms of my mother. Our house had three rooms. There were small windows with pieces of hinged wood to keep out the sun and rain.
The house was built on an incline of terraced farms, but the small yard outside was flat. My mother kept it swept clean of seedpods and leaves with a homemade broom made out of bundled twigs. When I grew old enough she would let me help her. I still remember the happiness I felt on the day when she trusted me to do it by myself. From the courtyard you could look south across the winding Ruvayaga Valley to the opposite hill. It seemed an awesome distance, like looking into another country. The hill was laced, as ours was, with houses made out of mud and stucco and baked red tiles, dots of cattle grazing, the groves of avocado plants, and the paddlewide leaves of the banana trees that practically sparkled in the sun.
On a perfect day you could lie in the grass near our home and see people at work in the fields on the next hill. They looked like ants. And far, far in the distance you could make out the clustered roofs of the village called Gitwe, where my parents told me I would one day learn how to read and write, which neither of them could do. Bird, inyoni. Mud, urwoondo.
Stones, amabuye. Milk, amata. To enter our house through the front door you had to step up on a stoop made of gray rocks. I used to climb in on my hands and knees. To the side of the door was a flat stone used for sharpening machetes. There was a shallow depression in the middle where rainwater would collect. After a storm I would splash my hands around in the cool water, putting it on my face and letting it dribble down my cheeks. It was the best part of the rain. When those storms came in September the lightning and thunder scared me.
My three younger brothers and I would sometimes huddle together during the worst ones. And then we would laugh at each other for our cowardice. Thunder, inkuba. I got a lot of attention from my mother as a result, and trailed her around the house hoping she would reward me with a chore. The firmament of our relationship was work; we expressed love to one another in the thousands of little daily actions that kept a rural African family together.
She showed me how to take care of the baby goats and cows, and how to grind cassava into flour. Even when I came back to visit my parents when I was grown it would be only minutes before I would find myself holding an empty jerrican and going to fetch well water for my mother. There was a narrow path from the main road that twisted up the side of the ridge and passed through groves of banana trees. I had learned how to walk on this path. It was our connection with a small village called Nkomero, which occupies the top of one of the hundreds of thousands of hills in Rwanda.
There are at least half a million hills, maybe more. If geography creates culture, then the Rwandan mind is shaped like solid green waves. We are the children of the hills, the grassy slopes, the valley roads, the spider patterns of rivers, and the millions of rivulets and crevasses and buckles of earth that ripple across this part of Central Africa like the lines on the tired face of an elder. If you ironed Rwanda flat, goes the joke, it would be ten times as big.
We had to learn the hard way how to arrange our plots of corn and cabbage into flat terraces on the sloping ground so as not to turn a farm into an avalanche. Every inch of arable land is used this way. The daily walk up to a family grove can be an exercise in calf-straining misery going up, and in thigh-wracking caution going down. I think our legs must be the most muscular on the African continent. Continues… Excerpted from "An Ordinary Man" by. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
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All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. The Boston Globe An extraordinary cautionary tale. Louis Post-Dispatch Read this book. It will humble and inspire you.
The Times , London. When a crazed army officer barged into the Hotel Des Milles Collines, Rusesabagina treated him much as he would any angry hotel guest. He offered the man a drink, and then deferred to every statement his guest made. And finally, when the man had calmed down, Rusesabagina suggested a solution that might make all parties happy. He bet his own life on his belief that, even in the midst of a genocide, most people are only a conversation away from their normal selves. This may seem a very strange belief for a contemporary Rwandan to hold.
Before , the exceptionally courteous population of this tiny, beautiful African country seemed anything but dangerous, but behind their smiles, Rwandans nursed deep political and historical grievances. Angry talk shows on the radio stoked long-held resentments against the Tutsi minority.
Neighbor began attacking neighbor, and a killing spree began that would eventually claim the lives of at least half a million people in the space of just a few months. But Rusesabagina clung to his confidence in the power of language.
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