Hotel Rwanda. Couldn't he have protected his family better? (Open spoilers, I guess)

The Paul character did a good job about convincing other people to help him. But why didnt he put more effort into protecting his family? He had plenty of time, there must have been something he could do. Dig a hidden shelter in the yard, find a hidden room in the cellar, etc. Instead he just drinks beer, and tells his wife to commit suicide if things go wrong.

Did anyone else find this annoying?

It’s been a really long time since I’ve seen this movie, so I can’t really answer your questions with any specifics. Of course, there are always alternative ways to deal with a situation, some good and some bad. I think the thing with this situation is that no one really expected things to get as serious as they did. I mean, who could really have believed that such a huge portion of the population would rise up and slaughter their neighbors with machetes? He probably figured that things would get a little tense and then cool off like it probably had on several occassions before. Hindsight being 20/20, we realize that there are many things he could have done better.

Also keep in mind that, while much of the story is dramatized, this is a true story. Paul is a real guy with a real family that really did these things in that tense situation. The film (while stylized) was portraying actual events.

mr. jp, your suggestions amount to, “expend time and energy staying at the hotel and somehow finding/creating the perfect hiding place from the marauding armed Hutus when the inevitable siege occurs.” Paul was figuring out ways to flee to safety. Your suggestions about digging a secret hole for a family of five and finding a secret room in your house, sorry, make about as much sense as the horror movie conceit of running upstairs inside the house when the killer psycho maniac breaks in after you.

I agree that the first priority would be to try to escape the country. But he couldn’t get his family out for the first days.

Then it makes sense to make an emergency plan if the hotel is invaded.

The plan he makes:
To order his wife to commit suicide together with the kids.

The plan I would make:
Find a hidden place somewhere in the hotel, and get the wife and kids to go there.
I don’t understand why this doesn’t make sense. If you have this backup plan, you can still get away if the opportunity arises.

You seem to be assuming that just because they’ve found a hiding place, they won’t be discovered. That seems overly optimistic. Think of Saddam Hussien in the spider bunker, think of Anne Frank’s family.

I think they’d seen / heard enough about the atrocities being committed around them to understand perfectly that they would most likely be discovered, and when found, likely face violent torture/rape/beating/maiming before being killed.

It’s the choice between suicide with some dignity and (hopefully) minimal pain and capricious murder. Paul was saying to his wife, “You and the kids must take your own lives.”

In the movie, he found them in the hotel room hiding in the shower. If anyone had been intent on killing everyone in the hotel they would have been found and killed. As it happened, in this dramatic recreation of events, they lived another day. But this isn’t to say that ever really occured, or that Paul’s decison wasn’t a more realistic reaction when you’re living under siege, and ultimately an act of love.

In the movie the hutu horde was portrayed as being very disorganised. A far cry from the systematic genocide of the jews.

The hutus would have probably looked in the shower if they had more time. But maybe if the family was hidden really well. Very thorough searching is a thankless task, and Im not sure the hutus would be up for it.

Im not saying they would be safe if they tried to hide well, but I think there would have been a good chance of staying alive. And thats better than nothing.

Mr Rusesabagina now has a book. Perhaps if you read it you’ll understand why he did as he did.

Well, we are acting with 20/20 hindsight here. At the time, I’m sure it wasn’t quite so easy to think straight.

Plus I am still questioning the wisdom of using your time and energy to further hunker down in a hotel that threatens to be overrun with people hellbent on killing your whole family. Even with 20/20 hindsight, digging a hole in the back of the property or trying to find a “hidden” room strikes me as kind of dumb. The genocides took place over a 100 day period. At the very beginning, there’s n way to assume it would go on so long with the world cimmunity turning a blind eye. Who can secure provisions for a family of 5 for so long on such short notice? It seems better to try and use one’s contacts to plead, beg and demand help and get ready to haul ass on a moment’s notice in case military transport does arrive.

Also bear in mind that Paul is trying to save as many people as he can. He’s not just trying to protect his family. There’s dozens if not over a hundred people there.
People are going to notice Paul, THE ONLY PERSON REALLY KEEPING THEM SAFE, digging holes and setting up secret bunkers. And any one of those people might tell the Hutus when they inevitably break in, WHERE these secret hiding places are.

I thought he did a damn good job of protecting his family. He kept cool under unimaginable conditions, and saved hundreds of people in the process. He was very brave and a hero to a lot of people.

I agree he did an excellent job protecting his family. His convincing of especially the general was something I could have never pulled off. I am really not trying to be condescending of a man who saved so many people, where I would have failed.
Push you down:
There were many hundreds of people.

I agree it might be difficult to look for a hiding place without other people noticing. And that this might create problems. But I don’t think the other people would be eager to tell the hutus.
As I said, I agree that it is best to try to get out of there. He would make his family hide ONLY IF THE HUTUS TAKE OVER THE HOTEL.

He would then hope that help would come before they ran out of supplies. And there should be supplies for quite a while. If he can feed all the people who live at the hotel, sure he could feed a family for some time.