h's Reviews > That the World May Know: Bearing Witness to Atrocity

That the World May Know by James Dawes
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Sep 03, 09

bookshelves: 2009, hup, borrowed, the-dead, maybe-thesis-read
Read in September, 2009

Anyone interested in human rights or the arts should read this book.

Dawes ponders the moral risks of witnessing atrocity, focusing on the perspectives of humanitarian aid workers and artists (photographers, writers, filmmakers, etc) whose jobs require that they witness torture and genocide. He focuses on the morality of storytelling - the problems inherent in both keeping silent and in speaking out about atrocities that are not one's own. The book is solidly and engagingly written, draws on a wide array of sources and interviews, and never flinches from asking difficult questions. In what ways do we do harm by witnessing and telling of these atrocities? In what ways do we help? And how do we weigh these consequences against one another?

This is a book that I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone, and will likely give to many people to read. Dawes discusses issues that should not be ignored by responsible artists and citizens.
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message 1: by Molly (new)

Molly Excellent recommendation. I'm deeply interested in the poetry of witness, so this is moving to the top of my to-buy pile.


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