The Silence • Gilles Peress • Magnum Photos

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Conflict

The Silence

Gilles Peress traces the horror of events that took place in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide

Gilles Peress

Gilles Peress | The Silence Clothing and bleached bones were all that remained of this refugee, slain with over 1 000 others at the parish church of Nyarubuye. Rwanda. 1994. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos
Gilles Peress | The Silence Near the border of Rwanda. Goma. Zaire. 1994. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos
Gilles Peress | The Silence Hospital near a concentration camp. Kabgayi, Rwanda. 1994. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos
Gilles Peress | The Silence The remains of Rwandan refugees who were slaughtered at the parish of Nyarubuye. Their bodies remained undiscovered for 44 days after the killings. Rwanda. 1994. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos
Gilles Peress | The Silence Hutus living in this house scrawled their ethnicity on the wall to prevent looting. The advance of the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Army caused the Hutus to flee in turn. Rwanda. 1994. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos
Gilles Peress | The Silence Rwandans at a refugee camp. Goma, Zaire. 1994. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos
Gilles Peress | The Silence Baptismal records of a parish church in Nyarubuye lie in debris left from the slaughter of 1 000 Tutsi refugees by Hutu militia. The refugees had sought shelter at the parish. Rwanda. 1994. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos
Gilles Peress | The Silence The body of a slain looter on the ground in front of the Parish of Rukara, a church some 45 kilometers southwest of Nagali. People who had looted the church were captured and killed by guards, thei (...)
Gilles Peress | The Silence Rwandan refugee camp in the Ngara region, near the border with Rwanda. Tanzania. 1994. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos
Gilles Peress | The Silence Rwandan cholera victims are buried as a severe cholera epidemic spread throughout refugee camps. Goma, Zaire. 1994. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos
Gilles Peress | The Silence At the base of Rosumo falls, some of the hundreds of thousands of victims of Rwanda's tribal violence wash up in the Akagera River. Rwanda. 1994. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos
Gilles Peress | The Silence Photo-album found at a massacre site. Nyamata, Rwanda. 1994. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos
Gilles Peress | The Silence Rwandan refugee camp in the Ngara region, near the border with Rwanda. Tanzania. 1994. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos
Gilles Peress | The Silence Tutsi corpses litter the floor of a classroom at a parish in Nyarubuye. Rwanda. 1994. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos
Gilles Peress | The Silence Rwandan refugee camp, in the region of Ngara, near the Rwanda border. Tanzania. 1994. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos

Gilles Peress, renowned for his acclaimed Farewell to Bosnia, continues his project Hate Thy Brother in this book, The Silence, which concerns itself with the class war in Rwanda. As one of the most brutal and inhumane occurrences of the twentieth century, the atrocities that occurred in Rwanda in 1994 went virtually unnoticed by the Western world. Peress challenged previous photo-documentation with this book, and spares nothing. It is one of the most harrowing collections of photographs ever published, and is impossible to experience it with the detachment of a historian.

"The immensity of this crime is beyond our imagination and is only surpassed by the unbelievable indifference of the West"

- Gilles Peress

Peress says of the situation in Rwanda, “The immensity of this crime is beyond our imagination and is only surpassed by the unbelievable indifference of the West and the developed nations who would have been able to intervene and prevent the crime…The question raised here is if man is fundamentally good or bad, if there is a possible redemption, if there can be compassion and solidarity.” As part of Peress’ design for the book, the edges are dyed in black ink, making this an even more powerful object of death.