Saturday, March 12, 2005

Invited to the White House, the Rwandan Hero (That Poor Man) Found Himself Confronted with the Clueless George W Bush

The Rwandan hotel manager who saved the lives of more than 1,200 people (when he sheltered them in his rooms during the genocide in 1994) got to see firsthand what an ignorant dolt George W Bush is when he was invited to the presentation of Hotel Rwanda, writes Elisabeth Bumiller in her article on the commander-in-chief's movie-viewing habits.
Presidents get Hollywood perks beyond first-run movies, of course. Perhaps the ultimate perk is the power they have to summon people connected to the movies for conversations afterward.

Bush did that last month with [Paul] Rusesabagina, the wily and courageous man of Hotel Rwanda who was played in the film by Don Cheadle.

On Feb. 15, after the White House contacted MGM, the film's distributor, Rusesabagina found himself in the Oval Office discussing Hotel Rwanda with Bush, Laura Bush and senior White House staff members.

"Don Cheadle is an actor," Rusesabagina said in a telephone interview on Friday from his home in Brussels, where he now lives. "He is a messenger."

The president, he said, "wanted to know who was the person behind the story, the real life behind Hotel Rwanda."

Rusesabagina said that Bush had been well briefed. "He was informed about everything," he said. "He knew everything that happened in Hotel Collines. He was asking me why did I decide to do that? And then at the end, he said I had done what any human being should have done."

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