The genocide memorials in Rwanda that preserve and expose the bones of the dead, including Nyamata, Nyarubuye, and Murambi, reflect a complex, unstable distinction between the commemoration of the destruction of a population (genocide) and the commemoration of death in general. At the moment that these memorials bear witness to genocide as genocide, by viewing the victims anonymously, as the perpetrators also viewed them, they also show that the difference between genocide and mass death cannot be represented by bones. In this way, they collapse the foundations of two apparently, and necessarily, opposed ways of seeing. Thus, far from solving problems of testimony by displaying hard evidence of death, the memorials reveal anew the necessity of an impossible testimony, that is, a testimony of the dead.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.