Sam Heie: Unit 3, Assignment 3

The two texts have some extrinsic similarities, but I’d say counter each other more than work together in unison. The similarities lie in the subject matter; both pieces depict an outsiders perspective of atrocities, war for Sontag and genocide for Gourevitch. Sontag discusses the effects of abundant viewership of images of atrocities and how it essentially numbs us to the actual horror of the events. She argues that our own personal conceptions of the victims and perpetrators have an immense impact on our emotional reaction to the atrocities. Gourevitch argues that the Rwandan genocide was not appropriately addressed by the world powers and was cast aside as a political question instead of a moral one. I think the reading of these two texts concurrently is important because Sontag challenges us to separate our personal feelings towards the victims and perpetrators of violence and view all acts of war and oppression as equally revolting which demonstrates how bad the complacency of the world powers in Gourevitch’s telling of the Rwandan genocide was.

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