uncover. unhide. unmask. unsecret. unveil. untaboo. unforget. UNSILENCE hidden stories of human rights
“The West’s post-Holocaust pledge that genocide would never again be proved to be hollow, and for all the sentiments inspired by tolerated the memory of Auschwitz, the problem remains that denouncing evil is a far cry from doing good” (Philip Gourevitch, 1998).
"Roll call lasted till the searchlights illuminated the barbed wire, till night. Throughout the roll call, we never looked at them. A corpse. The left eye devoured by a rat. The other open with its fringe of lashes. Try to look. Just try and see. A man unable to follow any longer. The dog lunges at his backside. The man does not stop. He continues walking, followed by the dog walking on his hind legs, its muzzle at the man’s rear end. The man is walking. He has not uttered a sound. Blood stains his trousers’ stripes. It seeps from inside, a stain spreading as though upon a blotter. The man goes on walking with the dog’s fangs in his flesh. Try to look. Just try and see. A woman dragged by two others, holding onto her arms. A Jewish woman. She does not want to be taken to Block 25. She resists. Her knees scrape the ground. Her clothing, pulled up by the tug of her sleeves, is wound round her neck. Her trousers–men’s trousers–are undone and drag inside out behind her, fastened to her ankles. A flayed frog. Her loins are exposed, her emaciated buttocks, soiled by blood and pus, are dotted with hollows. She is howling. Her knees are lacerated by the gravel. Try to look. Just try and see." (Charlotte Delbo, 1995)
“Let us, therefore, not make an effort to understand, but rather to lower our eyes and not understand... Not to understand the dead is a way of paying them back an ancient debt; it is the only way to ask their pardon. [...] We can only lower our heads and be silent,” he wrote. “And end this sickening posthumous trial which intellectual acrobats everywhere are carrying on against those whose death numbs the mind. Do we want to understand? There is no longer anything to understand. Do we want to know? There is nothing to know anymore. It is not by playing with words and the dead that we will understand and know. Quite the contrary. As the ancients said: “Those who know do not speak; those who speak do not know.”” (Elie Wiesel, 1968)
“Two days. In this train. In and out of sleep. Heading to a work camp, someone said. They’ll feed us there. No food since Tuesday. No water. […] Hunger was worse than winter. […] On the tracks. Rocking. Jolting. Some light. Sunlight from the small window. Darkness, as night came. Trying to sleep. Standing. […] Packed in here. A hundred Jewish men and women. Morning. Taking turns sitting. Crying. On each other. Taking turns to lean. […] Standing. Leaning […] One man, sobbing. Praying. […] He couldn’t stop. Coughing. The corner was the toilet. Trying to sleep again. […] a piece of bread. In a woman’s hand. […] The woman took a bite. Give it to me.” (Danny M. Cohen, Train, 2015)
writing about violence softened language understanding over-identification sentimentalization simplification clichés and slogans ownership