Monday, July 11, 2005

Srebrenica victims interred ... Once you visit a recent genocide site, you never really view the world the same way again. Absolute convictions seem either quaint or suspicious; morality seems delicately human; life becomes at once far cheaper and much more precious.

And, too, you can't help but emphasize with the places you have not been, the sites you have not seen. I may have visited several locations in Rwanda, but I feel no less concerned with places like the one in Srebrenica pictured at the right.

Just look at the three figures in the foreground: is the woman shoveling a grieved mother, a widow, or both? Is the child staring at her hands -- who is too young to have known whoever she is there to help bury -- a belated sister, or perhaps even daughter? Is the woman clenching her fist against her pate exhausted from digging or overwhelmed by anguish?

Whatever the specific contexts and exigencies of genocide, these are the questions that they inevitably give rise to.

With the situation in Darfur still unresolved and Iraq (especially with a U.S. withdrawal) threatening to implode, hopefully the agony underlying them will provide sufficient impetus for us to do all we can to ensure that they'll never be asked again.


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