When you peruse the five years (!) worth of content now located on this website, more often than not you're face-punched by stories of some of the most insane assbeaters that our ultra-xtreme warlike species has ever produced. These neck-snapping shitkickers have stabbed people in the fucking face, hacked warriors to pieces, machine-gunned Nazis by the dozen, and generally just made their mark on history by pummeling the fuck out of their enemies until all that was left was an increasingly-long trail of severed appendages, shredded armor, and empty shell casings.
That said, it may come as a surprise to hear that amassing towering piles of limbless corpses while riding on the back of a nuclear-powered buzzsaw-rocket isn't necessarily a prerequisite for badassitude. In fact, in the case of Paul Rusesabagina, the exact opposite is true; this fearless hardass actually risked his life to prevent machete-wielding maniacs from going Voorhees on everything with a pulse by standing up to heavily-armed thugs time and time again, even when the situation seemed insanely hopeless – an act of bravery that requires a gigantic, planet-sized nutsack and an incredible display of testicular fortitude that makes this man a total badass in his own right.
The first thing you should know about the sub-Saharan African nation of Rwanda is that it's dominated by two tribal ethnic groups – the Hutu and the Tutsi. Even though these two factions are from the same ancestral land, speak the same language, and are about as physiologically different as a pair of identical twin dopplegangers, they still seriously hate each other's guts out with the fiery rage of a million suns for some stupid reason I can't be bothered to look up right now. The smart money is probably on European colonization being the root of the problem, but who knows – I pretty much tend to blame Europeans for everything from nuclear war and hand grenades to reality television and colon cancer. But whatever, the point here is that these two remarkably-similar cultural groups basically go together like a high-powered nail gun and an unsuspecting crotch.
Well in 1994 the Hutu got really sick of the situation and decided to do something about it. All of a sudden one morning they flipped out like the zombies at the beginning of Dawn of the Dead, grabbed the pointiest things they could find, and started massacring Tutsis across the country.
Paul Rusesabagina was a Hutu, but for some reason he really just couldn't bring himself to jump axe-first onto the genocide bandwagon and start brutally executing his neighbors just because some douchebag with a megaphone told him to. Arbitrary manslaughter just wasn't really his bag, which I guess is pretty understandable I suppose. Instead, this oppositional-defiant civil disobeyer decided that he was going to sack up and do whatever it took to protect himself, his family, and anybody else that required his assistance.
Unlike many of his countrymen who were forced into service by the unruly hordes, Rusesabagina was actually in a pretty good situation to tell the rampaging killbots to get bent like a horseshoe magnet. He was the manager of a posh Belgian-owned, super-mega obscenely expensive luxury hotel in the city of Kigali known as the Mille Collines. Since the Belgians pretty much hauled ass out of there on their jetpacks as soon as they caught sight of the vengeful machete-swinging hordes, Paul decided to move his family into the hotel and hunker down for the inevitable siege. He loaded his family and friends up in a hotel van and hauled ass through Kigali like the APC scene from Aliens, breaking through roadblocks and power-sliding into the Mille Collines parking garage at fifty miles an hour. Once inside, he opened the hotel's doors to persecuted Rwandans across the countryside, regardless of ethnic background, and made a determined effort to do everything in his power to keep the men and women in the hotel from having their heads chopped off in a really violent manner by a bunch of sick sadistic freaks with bladed weapons.
While copious amounts of complete and utter batshit mayhem surrounded the Mille Collines, Rusesabagina and the denizens of the Mille Collines did what they could with what they had available. Running water and electricity were at a premium, so they used the chlorinated water from the hotel swimming pool for cleaning, cooking, and drinking purposes. Rusesabagina's personal safety was threatened almost daily by heavy machine guns, Molotov cocktails, and fucking three-foot long knives, yet this undaunted, apparently-fearless Rwandan humanitarian made the most of the two main weapons at his disposal – the hotel wine cellar, and the one working phone line that miraculously avoiding being cut by the angry Hutu militia. When enemy troops came too close or threatened direct action against Rusesabagina and the hundreds of people under his care, he bought off their commanders with priceless bottles of French Burgundy and Bordeaux in exchange for peace. At any spare moment in which he wasn't bribing someone not to kill him or his friends, Paul was on the phone or the fax sending out pleas to anybody and everybody who would listen – the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the press, the United Nations... shit, he even got on the horn with the fucking White House somehow.
When news got out that Paul Rusesabagina had built a fortified sanctuary against the madness sweeping across the country, people flocked to the Hotel Mille Collines seeking his aid. Over the 11 week siege in which the embattled hotel was completely surrounded by militia forces actively seeking to utterly and completely murder every human being inside, the Hotel's 1,268 tenants stood strong. Hutu forces routinely threatened full-scale invasion, broke windows, ransacked Paul's hotel room, sent assassins into the hotel hallways, and basically did everything they could to try and overwhelm the Hotel, but Paul Rusesabagina always responded with an unwavering middle finger salute. He never backed down, cashed in every favor anybody owed him, bartered with every item at his disposal, and reached out for help in every possible direction. Somehow, he incredibly found a way to hold off the seemingly-inevitable invasion during 70+ days of sociopathic anarchy. Rwandan government forces eventually regained control over the city of Kigali, and the people of the hotel were allowed to escape to freedom. Of the 1,268 people under his care, not a single one was killed or captured by the militia.
The Rwandan Civil War was completely fucking nuts – conservative estimates suggest that over 800,000 people were killed in the span of just 100 days. Yet in the midst of this ridiculous insanity, one man – Paul Rusesabagina – managed to overcome the odds and save the lives of over a thousand people without even so much as lifting a firearm. And that, my friends, is what makes you a badass.
The movie Hotel Rwanda is based off of Paul Rusesabagina's life.
And just for the record, Don Cheadle is also badass.
Gourevitch, Richard. We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families. Macmillan, 1999.
Rusesabagina, Paul, and Zoellner, Tom. An Ordinary Man. Viking, 2006.
Totten, Samuel, et al. Dictionary of Genocide. Greenwood, 2008.