Julie Moock Unit 3 Assignment 3

Gourevitch seeks to understand why the international community held an indifferent, approaching on anti-Tutsi, stance. He mentions that the United States’ refusal to enter the word genocide into conversation, and the French’s intervention on behalf of the Hutus, is contradictory to the opposing actions taken during the Holocaust. Gourevitch sees the “Never Again” slogan adpoted at the Holocaust museum as an affront to the lives lost in Rwanda (152). As the world sat back while a genocide occurred, there seems to be a pervasive idea that horrors committed on European soil are inhuman, requiring immediate action; yet suffering anywhere in Africa is inevitable. This is a sentiment that Sontag mimics as well. The Rwandan Genocide seemed to affirm the rest of the world’s belief that poor countries will act with a violence that Europe and America are somehow removed from, without a responsibility to act. Sontag makes this most clear through the use of face in photography: “The more remote or exotic the place, the more likely we are to have full frontal views of the dead” (70). The less respect we hold for a nation and its people, the more comfortable we are to make the ravages of violence and human casualty visible. Yet, this perpetuates a continual loop as we can then cast Rwandans aside as savages, no longer holding the burden to aid. Sontag and Gourevitch both seem to agree that the Rwandan Genocide was ignored due to the Euro-centric world’s predjudiced attitudes towards African nations. Sontag brings a new perspective to the table through the lense of photography. The person behind the camera holds the fate of the subject.

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