Amherst Magazine

The Pain of War


Gilles Peress, Massacre Site, Nyarubuye, Rwanda (1994)

Body covered in sheet.

Massacre Site, Nyarubuye, Rwanda, 1994, gelatin silver print, by Gilles Peress. Mead Art Museum, gift of Stanley and Diane Person.

You are an eroded piece of something on dried and cracked soil.
Your shroud is one of many thousands of fallen victims in the Rwandan war of genocide.
You lie like nature’s sculpture in wood on an embattled land patch.
Your head and feet are covered like a newly married bride.
Your shroud’s deep lines and crevices, like machete wounds are accentuated by strong light and impenetrable darkness at noonday.
When ivory breaks, it is forever.
May your spirit never abandon your clan.

—Rowland O. Abiodun, John C. Newton Professor of Fine Arts and Black Studies

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