Pieter Hugo’s Portraits of Rwandans

Pieter Hugo took these incredibly powerful photographs of Tutsi survivors with the Hutu perpetrators that had attacked them and their families two decades ago.  I won’t say much because you should really just go check more of them out in this New York Times Magazine article, but I especially like this quote from Hugo “These people can’t go anywhere else — they have to make peace. Forgiveness is not born out of some airy-fairy sense of benevolence. It’s more out of a survival instinct.”  I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the strength of these survivors and the complexity of the relationships the people in these photographs have with each other, and with their entire communities.  Here’s one of the photographs and the accompanying quotes:

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Ndahimana Perpetrator (left)

Cansilde Munganyinka Survivor

NDAHIMANA: “The day I thought of asking pardon, I felt unburdened and relieved. I had lost my humanity because of the crime I committed, but now I am like any human being.” MUNGANYINKA: “After I was chased from my village and Dominique and others looted it, I became homeless and insane. Later, when he asked my pardon, I said: ‘I have nothing to feed my children. Are you going to help raise my children? Are you going to build a house for them?’ The next week, Dominique came with some survivors and former prisoners who perpetrated genocide. There were more than 50 of them, and they built my family a house. Ever since then, I have started to feel better. I was like a dry stick; now I feel peaceful in my heart, and I share this peace with my neighbors.”

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