Rwanda: What Do You See?


“The dead at Nyarubuye were, I’m afraid, beautiful. There was no getting around it. The skeleton is a beautiful thing. The randomness of the fallen forms, the strange tranquillity of their rude exposure, the skull here, the arm bent in some uninterpretable gesture there–these things were beautiful, and their beauty only added to the affront of the place. I couldn’t settle on any meaningful response: revulsion, alarm, sorrow, grief, shame, incomprehension, sure, but nothing truly meaningful.”

-Philip Gourevitch (We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda)

I haven’t been to Rwanda – but I have seen the pictures, read the words, and jotted a few myself. No, I am not confused. Probably because I haven’t been there. Probably because I haven’t accidentally scrunched a bone under my feet, nor have I been assaulted by rows of skulls cracked open, or the bewildered eyes of those who live today.

The words and pictures of Rwanda’s genocide, overwhelm me with an angry sorrow. Continue reading