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Location: Baltimore-DC Area

Author who writes for a living and lives for writing. // WOMB: a novel in utero (Merge Publishing 2017) // TRACKS: A Novel in Stories (Atticus Books 2011) // FLIGHTLESS GOOSE, a storybook for children (Writers Lair Books 2008) // www.EricDGoodman.com

Saturday, April 08, 2006

An Extraordinary Man

Today I had the honor of seeing Paul Ruseaubagina speak at the CityLit Festival III. This was his first stop on a tour promoting his new book, An Ordinary Man. The memoir, like the movie based on his acts, show that he is no ordinary man.

Mr. Ruseaubagina, the hotel manager portrayed in the movie Hotel Rwanda, is referred to as the "Oskar Schindler of Africa." More than a thousand refugees were saved from the Rwandan genocide of 1994 by his diplomacy. Sadly, more than a million were not.

"I saw people with guns, machetes, ready to slaughter their neighbors," Mr. Ruseaubagina explained during his talk at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. "My son saw his friend who had just been slaughtered with his family, some of them not yet dead. He didn't talk for four days. He never understood. Just like his father. I never understood. Just as I'm sure you cannot understand. That was the first day."

Ruseaubagina explained that as he went to meet the soldiers who threatened to kill his family, there was only one thing he believed in. "The power of words." It was through kindness and negotiation, through his dialogue, that he was able to help himself and those around him survive.

Hotel Rwanda is a movie that needs to be seen; An Ordinary Man is a book that needs to be read.

To learn more, check out NPR's interview at the link below.


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