World is Witness

Monday, April 7, 2008 at 6:30 AM



Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, Nobel Laureate and Founding Chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum stated:
“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
Today, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is asking you to take a moment to open Google Earth and zoom down into the broken heart of central Africa, where 500,000 to 1 million people were killed in the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

The aftermath of the genocide sparked a war in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1996 and a second in 1998, which, according to a new study, has claimed the lives of more than 5.4 million people. It’s a number equal to the combined populations of Los Angeles and Philadelphia and greater than any conflict since World War II.

Join us as we travel to Rwanda and Eastern Congo. Meet Rwandan genocide survivors and heroic Congolese struggling against a daily onslaught of violence. Lucienne, a 24 year old woman, was enslaved for months as the ‘wife’ of a group of rebels. Dr. Denis Mukwege, a heroic surgeon at Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, is trying to fight the unprecedented violence against women in Congo.

This journey to central Africa is documented in the museum’s initiative, World is Witness, a new layer in the Global Awareness folder in Google Earth that will be updated with posts from around the world. This ‘geoblog,’ a follow-up to Crisis in Darfur, opens a window into the lives of people at risk or affected by genocide and related crimes against humanity.


Explore the layer to learn more. Share your thoughts and comments on our geoblog, learn more about the Museum’s genocide prevention efforts, join our Facebook group, and find out how to help.