How do nations struggle with mass violence and the rule of law? How do communities work to achieve reconciliation, repair dispossession, and remember those lost? Genocide and mass violence, past and present, raise all of these complex concerns and more.
Tamba Ngaujah was the first amputee of the war in Sierra Leone, which featured brutal amputations of civilians by all three fighting forces. Rebels from the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) captured Ngaujah on November 21, 1992, and cut off both of his hands. He has chosen to forgive the perpetrators because he believes that taking revenge would lead to generational conflict. Photograph by Sara Terry.
This image, which is on the cover of Facing History's publication Crimes Against Humanity and Civilization: The Genocide of the Armenians was painted by the artist Arshile Gorky. It is based on a photograph of Gorky and his mother, Sushan der Marderosian, taken in 1912. Although Gorky is generally identified as an American artist, he was born Vosdanig Adoian near the city of Van in what was then the Ottoman Empire.
While China dealt with internal economic and political upheaval after the formation of the First Chinese Republic in 1911, Japan was emerging as a formidable imperial power. Following their victories in the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), Japanese leaders sought for more territories in the region. Gradually, Japan grew a vast empire.
The sun begins to set in the Badlands of South Dakota, the region that is home to the Lakotas. The Oglala Lakota people have long resisted the US government and continue their legal battle over the sacred Paha Sapa (Black Hills). Originally confined to the Pine Ridge Reservation, most Oglala today live in abject poverty in what is the poorest region of the United States.
These are staged “before and after” photos taken by government officials. Thomas Moore, a young Indigenous boy who attended Regina Industrial School, is portrayed with short hair and Western-style clothing. Officials and missionaries created such propaganda so that they could adopt it as evidence of the radical, “beneficial” changes the schools brought about in their students.
Lorenzo Cuxil and Felicita Oligaria look at a picture of a victim killed by the Guatemalan army at a former military base in Comalapa, 80 kilometers (about 50 miles) west of Guatemala City, in this photograph taken on November 2, 2004. Guatemalans honor their deceased loved ones on November 1 and 2 each year.