Portrait of a Genocide
‘The Rwandan Genocide was the 1994 mass extermination of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutu sympathizers in Rwanda and was the largest atrocity during the Rwandan Civil War.
This genocide was mostly carried out by two extremist Hutu militia groups, the Interahamwe and the Impuzamugambi, during a period of about 100 days from April 6 through mid-July 1994. At least 500,000 Tutsis and thousands of moderate Hutus died in the genocide. Other estimates put the death toll between 800,000 and 1,000,000.
In the wake of the Rwandan Genocide, the United Nations and the international community in general drew severe criticism for its inaction. Despite international news media coverage of the violence as it unfolded, most countries, including France, Belgium, and the United States, declined to intervene or speak out against the massacres. Canada continued to lead the UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda, United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR). However, the UN Security Council did not authorize UNAMIR to intervene or use force to prevent or halt the killing.
The genocide ended when a Tutsi-dominated expatriate rebel movement known as the Rwandan Patriotic Front, led by Paul Kagame, overthrew the Hutu government and seized power. Fearing reprisals, hundreds of thousands of Hutu and other refugees fled into eastern Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). People who had actively participated in the genocide hid among the refugees, fueling the First and Second Congo Wars. Rivalry between Hutu and Tutsi tribal factions is also a major factor in the Burundi Civil War..
Today, although the massacres are over, the legacy of the genocide continues, and the search for justice has been a long and arduous one.
About 500 people have been sentenced to death, and another 100,000 are still in prison.
But some of the ringleaders have managed to evade capture, and many who lost their loved ones are still waiting for justice.’
This body of work is a tribute to the survivals who lost everything except their memories.