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“Genocide does not kill large numbers of people. Genocide kills individuals, it kills a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, a child, a parent, a grandparent, an uncle, an auntie. Genocide is often typified by the statistics of mass murder – a million Armenians, two million Cambodians, six million Jews, half-a-million Gypsies and what we’re trying to say here is that this is not about numbers. It’s about people. To me this display [of photographs] is almost like a room full of jewels, each image has so much individuality, personality, care, compassion and love and sorrow all mingled in. They’re unbearable and very real. They’re putting political history in a profoundly personal way and allow people to think and reflect on the personal rather than just the political and historical. They give the statistics a third dimension which actually then enriches the historical documents.”
Stephen Smith, Chairman of Aegis Trust
The Rwandan genocide has always been a story about numbers. From 7th April 1994 it is estimated 1,000,000 people were murdered, mostly Tutsi: 10,000 each day, 400 each hour, 7 each minute, 24 hours a day for 100 days. Over the past year, in the run-up to the 10th anniversary of the genocide, the British-based charity Aegis Trust have sent data collectors across Rwanda to help document the development, lived experiences, and aftermath of the genocide.
As of 6th March 1994, the data acquisitions team had interviewed 2593 people and identified 18,885 victims names, 478 mass graves and 896 roadblock sites. They had also collected over 2000 photographs of the victims. Whilst working in the region, Simon collaborated with Aegis to collate these images, producing a series of collages using passport photographs, family snap shots and identity cards. A selection of the collages are reproduced here along with sample original scans, identified with the jpg filename they were archived with.
The title refers to the actions of UN soldiers in shooting at the stray dogs that scavanged the bodies of the dead.
On the 10th December 2010 Aegis opened the Kigali Genocide Memorial (KGM) in Rwanda, a facility which aims to make the genocide one of the most comprehensively documented – and most easily researchable – genocides of all time. KGM is a collaborative project of the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, Aegis Trust, and Rwanda’s National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide. The online site features video testimonies from genocide survivors and rescuers, perpetrator testimonies from the gacaca court proceedings, footage from annual remembrance ceremonies, archival photographs, colonial documents, identification records, maps, foreign serials and propaganda publications.
You can search the full database of photographs collected by Aegis and KGM here.