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  • Gabrielle Hendricks

Beyond the Gates

On Feb. 20, Fr. Martin Moran put together a film presentation of “Beyond the Gates” in remembrance of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. The political science department helped cohost the event to show their students the implications of genocide. Professors and students were moved by the film. It was filled with anguish and horrific terrors but also showed courage and hope for the future.

“Beyond the Gates” is a 2007 film based on a true story that showed the shortcoming of the U.N. and the west. The world would not label the event a genocide when it was happening in front of their eyes because of politics. Despite all the Europeans deserting, an English priest named Fr. Christopher was the hero of the story. God placed bravery in his heart to sacrifice himself for Rwandan children who could escape on his truck. The film ends with the main Tutsi character, a teenage girl named Marie surviving and meeting with her young English teacher Joe who left her behind to save himself.

The movie brings to light how ordinary individuals can turn into killers through propaganda and extremism. It also confronts western nation’s compliance in the genocide, leading to the deaths of 800,000 Tutsis. The film is an example of how people should call out human right violations when they see them and implement changes in the world government structures. Through the movie, it was evident how people should have faith in God through the most troubling of times.

The movie coordinator, Moran, said one reason he showed the film was to show students a representation of living by Mount St. Mary University’s mission statement of living lives of significance to God and others.

The second reason he stated was “to see the problems of the world and how we can arise in our greatness to make a difference.” It is important to Moran that students at the Mount learn from historical events such as the Rwandan Genocide to not turn their eyes away from evil and to be of service to others who are in need.

Dr. William Christiansen who is teaching a Global Encounters course called “Mass Atrocities” this semester encouraged his students to attend the film. Christiansen said the most important takeaway from the film is to see that, “the perpetrators of genocide are not these awful, inhumane, evil people that are easily identifiable but that these types of events are made possible by indifference, and they’re carried out by everyday members of society.” This is an insightful view on how genocide can happen in any society and that everyone is susceptible to being hateful enough to kill others. It is a reminder to check our biases and be open-minded to such prolific events.

Students who attended the film were deeply moved by it. Yasier Herrera (C’25) said the movie was “very intense and hard to watch because there is a lot of doubt and wondering on where God is and what is He doing in this. The characters demonstrated how God is with us every moment.”

Rachel Hoerner (C’25) said despite the horrors of the film she had a “strange sense of peace watching it because they did a really good job of showing God in the film.” The characters in the film gave both Herrera and Hoerner and other students hope that God is there through all the world’s troubles. Faith is needed through troubling times, and the film demonstrated it in an extraordinary way.

“Beyond the Gates” was a great demonstration of how God is there in every moment of their lives. It exemplified how people should show kindness and God-given talents to those in need of help. It was also a notable example of how people should question their world governments and think differently about political events and see humanity in everyone involved.


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