Louis Onoratini — Unit 3 Post 3

Throughout the Gourevitch reading, we read about the ending of the Rwandan genocide. We get to see how the international community behaved throughout it and what the Tustis did in order to save themselves. Even though there are no pictures, Gourevitch’s wording and imagery works to put us in the shoes of the victims. With that, we understand a fraction of what they lived through. Words can be amplified by pictures, and Sontag explains why. When reading, one could skip over a line, however it is very hard not to look at an image. Pictures of atrocities grab us in a very distinct way and sometimes never truly let us go. We are invited to see people’s pain from a closer standpoint, which is supposed to make us feel more compassion. However, this viewing of others pain is highly controversial. The fact of the matter is, Western people refuse to have images of themselves experiencing pain in circulation but have no problem with seeing other races or nationalities in such situations. The American at the end of the Gourevitch reading says it best when he says that no one truly cared about Rwanda. However, what he failed to mention was that if anything of this magnitude occurred in the US, no pictures would be allowed to circulate in order not to offend the families. This is never taken into account for other races. The sad reality is that this backwards way of making us feel other people’s pain, will never work. It is impossible to truly know what people who have lived through such atrocities have felt except if we go through them as well. 

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