“Kindness is not an illusion and violence is not a rule. The true resting state of human affairs is not represented by a man hacking his neighbor into pieces with a machete. That is a sick aberration. No, the true state of human affairs is life as it ought to be lived.”
The #FreeRusesabagina campaign is powered by the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation.
Paul Rusesabagina is the real life hero of the acclaimed film Hotel Rwanda and the President and Founder of the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation. As portrayed by actor Don Cheadle in the film, Rusesabagina saved the lives of more than 1,200 people during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Rusesabagina served as manager of the Hotel des Mille Collines in Kigali and bravely risked his life to shelter Hutus and Tutsis who were seeking refuge from the genocide that killed more than 800,000 people. Rusesabagina describes his experiences during the horrific genocide, the terror and the helplessness of the people he sheltered, and the ways in which governments, non-governmental organizations and ordinary people can work together to prevent genocide throughout the world.
In 2000, Paul Rusesabagina received the Immortal Chaplains Prize for Humanity. In 2005 he received the the highest civilian award in the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President George W. Bush. That same year, Rusesabagina was also honored with the National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award and the Humanitarian Award from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. After receiving these honors, Rusesabagina formed the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation to help provide voice to victims of genocide and support peace efforts in Rwanda and throughout the world. What started as a personal mission to teach the lessons of Rwanda has become an international movement to fight genocide throughout the world.
The Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation raises public awareness about the need for an internationally administered Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region of Africa. The Foundation also works on issues related to the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where more than 5 million have died. The Foundation is campaigning for an end to Rwandan military intervention in the Congo and against the deadly exploitation of conflict minerals in the region.
Paul Rusesabagina was born June 15, 1954, at Murama-Gitarama in the Central South of Rwanda; his parents were farmers. In 1962, he entered the SDA (Seventh Day Adventist) College of Gitwe, a Missionary School. He attended seven years of primary school and six years of secondary studies.
From 1975 to 1978, Rusesabagina attended the Faculty of Theology in Cameroon. In January 1979 he was employed by Sabena as a front office manager in their newly opened Hotel Akagera in the Akagera National Park. Here he learned to excel in the tourism, hotel, and catering industry. Through The Suisse Tourist Consult, Rusesabagina’s application was accepted for entrance into the Kenya Utalii College in Nairobi in the Hotel Management Course, which he started in early 1980 and finished in September 1984 in Switzerland.
Back from Switzerland, Rusesabagina joined Sabena Hotels again and was employed as assistant general manager in the Mille Collines Hotel from October 1984 until November 1992, at which time he was promoted to general manager of the Diplomate Hotel (also in Kigali).As portrayed in the film Hotel Rwanda, Rusesabagina moved back to the Hotel des Mille Colllines during the horrific Rwandan genocide, where he worked tirelessly to protect and shelter those fleeing the violence that had gripped his country.