Unit 3 Assignment 3: Preston Ito

Both Sontag and Gourevitch touch on the disparity between reality and what is portrayed. Gourevitch mainly focuses on the legalities of war. He mentioned the various reasons for which different nations outside of Rwanda refused to get involved. Some countries, like Belgian, tried to get involved but in Belgian’s case, withdrew their troops after losing the lives of 10 soldiers. In other cases, the mere diction that certain countries used indicated their specific stance on getting involved. “But the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights still favored the phrase ‘possible genocide,’ while the Clinton administration actually forbade unqualified use of the g-word… Shelley was a bit more to the point when she rejected the denomination of genocide, because, she said, ‘there are obligations which arise in connection with the use of the term.'” (Gourevitch 152-53) I find it interesting to see people investing so much time and thought in the technicalities of it all, especially when there were literally thousands of lives being brutally murdered. Even though it most definitely was a genocide, officials across the world were afraid to call it one due to the “obligations” that follow. They tried to convince the public of a story different from reality. In Sontag, she talks about the use of images to frame certain opinions. Countries choose which pictures their citizens are allowed to see. In doing so, there will often be a discourse between citizens from different countries of the same story. Sontag and Gourevitch both recognize the role that governments play in creating a gap between reality and what is perceived.

Leave a Reply