Unit 3 Assignment 3- Grace Gardella

These two texts both discuss the act of looking at suffering. However, Sontag’s text is more general, with a focus on photography, while Gourevitch’s text is written within the specific context of the Rwandan Genocide. The assigned readings from the two texts connect around the witnessing of tragedy and the implied distance in observation. Sontag argues that photos have an innate distance in nature and that while they may “seek our gaze” with “terrible distinctness”, ultimately, the viewer can never accurately understand the depicted tragedy (63, 135). Gourevitch argues a similar idea, describing the disconnect and lack of action between the broadcasted images of the genocide and the viewers watching from other countries. The perception of the Rwandan Genocide from outsiders was inaccurate. There was confusion as to who was the victim and the murderers and even whether to even classify the conflict as a genocide. This disconnect between image and viewer from Sontag’s text is a similar reasoning for the lack of action in response to the Rwandan Genocide that Gourevitch reported on.

Grace Gardella

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