Genocide & Mutilated Congolese

The book To Kill a People by John Cox focuses on the history of genocide mainly in the twentieth century. The book starts off with a good general introduction which I found quite helpful in getting the main idea and general topics down that will be discussed later throughout the book. What is the definition of “genocide”? Personally, I think it’s good to break down a broad open-ended question and just focus on the word at focus and simply define it. For example, in the introduction it takes a moment to just define what genocide even is. “Genocide is the attempt to destroy any recognized, stable, and permanent group as it is defined by the perpetrator..” (Cox 11). There are probably millions of different definitions of genocide but I think this one is fairly accurate and to the point.

The first thing that stood out to me while starting to read this book was the portrait of two mutilated Congolese children. As a reader you can tell the two boys aren’t of the same age, however both are relatively young. I look at the details of pictures, the little things can tell a lot. And in general, a photograph can have an endless amount of interpretations and meanings. The facial expressions of the two boys Yoka (standing on the right) and Mola (sitting on the left) just show the emotion of the setting. It was said that Yoka lost his arm because he had “failed to meet a quota” for rubber. And Mola, lost both of his hands due to a mercenary tying them too tightly. Both reasons seemed to be due to just pure carelessness. A couple questions that I had while looking at this photo was, who was behind the camera? who took the photo? and why?. Was the portrait taken in protest of what was happening or the opposite? IMG_7028

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