Remembering Rwanda: Photographs Of What Was Left

April 7, 2016

On the 22nd anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, it is gravely important to remember the greatest threat humanity has ever faced through documentary photography. I truly hope that bringing these images to light once more, will never allow these horrific acts to happen again.

 

The Rwandan genocide had a substantial effect on Rwanda and its neighboring countries. The pervasive use of war rape caused and increase HIV infection and many orphaned children and widows. Refugees reaped havoc on neighboring countries’ economies, diminishing supplies and causing overpopulation. In Rwanda, the devastation and a severe depopulation of the country paralyzed the economy, which is still rebuilding itself today, some 22 years later.

 

These images are truly heartbreaking and difficult to view. But I believe these images reveal the importance of documentary photography. When tragedy is not in our own backyards, we tend to forget it exists or not realize it is happening in the moment. 

 

 

 

A group of hungry boys pick up pieces of grain that fell from a relief truck at the Benaco refugee camp. The face of the boy in the center is what makes this image so powerful. Your heart breaks looking at the pain on his face.

 

A Hutu girl sits tensely within a crowd of some l0,000 Rwandan refugees who were stopped from crossing into Zaire, after the border was closed while French troops patrol the border area, in this August 12, 1994. 

 

 

A man offered to use his hoe to dig a grave and bury the 2-week-old daughter of his friend who had made it to the refugee camp only to lose the baby to illness shortly after arriving.

 

A young child who was too weak to walk. This was only one of some 150 Rwandan children picked up off the street by the Red Cross on July 19, 1994.

 

 

Refugees carry water from a small lake that was contaminated from the runoff from a nearby area that was being used as an outdoor latrine. 

 

A Zairean soldier inspecting piles of weapons confiscated from Rwandan government troops after they fled the border city of Gicenyi on July 18, 1994.

 

 

A young boy suffering from a cold was photographed just as he'd awakened after cold night in the Benaco camp.

 

A group of grave diggers worked at dusk to catch up on the many graves that were needed to bury those who died in the Benaco camp.

 

A Rwandan Hutu refugee woman helps her daughter with an IV drip at a local hospital in the town of Goma in this November 17, 1996.

 

 

An image can be worth a thousand words. But some compose so much tragedy, you cannot bring yourself to say one.

 

A Rwandan boy covers his face from the stench of dead bodies on July 19, 1994. 

 

A survivor of a vicious machete attack which were characteristic of the Rwandan Genocide.

 

The skulls and bones of Rwandan victims rest on shelves at a genocide memorial inside the church at Ntarama, just outside the capital Kigali, on  August 6, 2010.

 

In response to Rwandan Patriotic Front forces gaining control over most of country, more than 2 million Rwandans, nearly all Hutus, fled to refugee camps in the Congo.

 

A Rwandan Hutu refugee man and a child lay injured on the ground with broken legs after a food riot broke out near the border town of Goma on November 16, 1996.

 

 

Refugees made makeshift crosses to honor those who died in the Benaco Refugee Camp.

 

A Rwandan refugee who traveled from Bukavu with several thousand others shivers in the early morning hours on November 30, 1996.

 

Men who volunteered to help bury the dead scan a field for a place to dig a grave for a 41-year-old woman in the Benaco refugee camp just inside Tanzania at the Kigera River border crossing with Rwanda. 

 

Rwandan children dance in a circle in the shadow of one of several volcanoes which loom over the Rwandan refugee camps on March 15, 1994.

 

Rather than kill this young boy, his father said that a Hutu gang cut his Achilles heels so that he couldn't walk. 

 

Rwandan refugees carry food supplies away from a distribution point onis July 28, 1994.

 

 

Refugees wait behind barbed wire as they watch aid workers unload a new batch of supplies and food, at a refugee camp at the Kigera River border crossing with Rwanda.

 

A Rwandan woman collapses with her baby on her back alongside the road connecting Kibumba refugee camp and Goma on July 28, 1994.

 

A dying Rwandan woman tries breastfeeding her child next to hundreds of corpses waiting to be buried at a mass grave near the Munigi refugee camp, where thousands of refugees are succumbing to cholera or dehydration, on July 23, 1994.

 

 

 

 

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Stephanie Amber

Stephanie Amber Photography is not only my portfolio, it's yours. I have started this photography blog to highlight local and amateur photographers. Submit your photography to the blog to become our next featured photographer. I am a graphic designer and freelance photographer in the greater Boston area. 

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