Confrontation vs. Censorship

Both Philip Gourevitch’s We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families and Susan Sontag’s Regarding the Pain of Others discuss images of violence and suffering and people’s reactions to them. Gourevitch describes the corpses of genocide victims and the aftermath of the genocide in Rwanda, and provides detailed personal accounts from survivors, because not enough Americans are well-informed of the level of atrocity occurring there. He aims to make his audience feel uncomfortable by confronting them with the horrors from which mainstream media has been shielding them. However, in her argument, Sontag points out the implications of both the censorship of disturbing images by the media and the lack of impact that the overuse of such images can have. Gourevitch’s account of the under-publicized and underestimated genocide in Rwanda serves as an example of the shocking images and stories that would ideally force readers to change their perspectives, but in reality, according to Sontag, are merely molded in readers’ minds to fit their own preconceived notions. While observers feel sympathy for the victims of genocide, it does not occur to them to actively prevent such evil from happening again.