Beyond the Gates

May 04, 2008 Published under Favorite Quotes, Global, Leadership, Life, Movies, Religion

Like Hotel Rwanda, Beyond the Gates (aka Shooting Dogs) peers into the genocide in Rwanda, here from the eyes of an older priest and a young teacher who witness the slaughter by Hutu militia wielding machetes on Tutsi refugees as UN peace-monitors stand by.  Less than 15 years ago this true story took place.  After witnessing the inhuman carnage from close, helpless to save a mother and her baby, Joe Connor, the idealistic English teacher, asks Christopher, the exhausted Catholic priest:

Joe: How much pain can a human being take, do you think?
If you feel enough pain, does everything just shut down…
before you die?

Christopher: I don’t know, Joe.

Joe: ’cause you’d think that, wouldn’t you? You’d think there’d be some, something in the design, some shut-off valve, if you feel enough pain?

Christopher: I hope so.

Joe: Yeah, God knows.  [chuckles] Maybe we should ask him…  If he’s still around.

Christopher: I think it’s time we packed our bags.

The UN then begins a withdrawal, evacuating foreigners, but abandoning the compound, and the refugees.  What could Joe do? What can the priest do?

When the UN starts to withdraw, Joe is on board the convoy, when he sees the priest from afar chooses to stay. Joe is terrified.  Why? He is young – he has to leave.  He runs to the priest, terrified at his choices:

Joe: Christopher, what, what?

Christopher: I have to stay.

Joe: But I can’t…  I can’t.

Christopher: I know.  That’s as it should be. Really.

Joe: Why are you doing this?

Christopher: You asked me Joe, where is God in everything that is happening here, in all this suffering. I know exactly where he is.  He is right here.  With these people. Suffering.  His love is here, more intense and profound than I’ve ever felt.  And my heart is here too. My soul.  If I leave, I think, I may not find it again. 
[He smiles at Joe, and signals him to get on bus.] 
Find fulfillment in everything Joe.

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  1. Quote of the Week: Faith in Action, Elie Wiesel | Daniel Lubetzky said:

    [...] – Elie Wiesel, quoted at the end of Beyond the Gates [...]

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