'Lost in Goma'  Photographs Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide

These photographs were made in the immediate aftermath of the Rwandan genocide in the border town of Goma, eastern Congo. 

The génocidaires of the Interahamwe ("Those Who Attack Together"), seeing that their reign of murder was at an end, fled across the frontier hiding among an estimated 2,000,000 refugees. 

The refugee camp at Goma (Kibumba) was located on a volcanic plateau and a devastating cholera epidemic struck within days. People died in their tens of thousands. Most were left at the side of the road and they were eventually bulldozed into mass graves.

I have no doubt that some of the people, including children, in these pictures played some part in the genocide. But mostly these are photographs of innocent civilians caught in the middle.  

Captioning these pictures to try and make sense of it all strikes me as both pointless and disrespectful; that any words used diminishes the enormity of their experience. Is it necessary to tell you that this a picture is of a 'dead child' or that is a 'mass grave'? The point is that they died anonymously and without ceremony or hope. 

The pictures are shown in the order that I shot them, more or less.

Back then, my hands trembled for the first couple of days, but hiding behind my camera, I made myself shoot and compose and breathe,

over and over, and told myself to deal with it later. Twenty five years later and it still occupies my mind every day. 
 

These pictures are dedicated to my comrades with the Irish emergency n.g.o GOAL who responded so quickly and so selflessly to this most appalling of human tragedies. They are dedicated to the people we tried to help and to the poor, lost survivors. They are dedicated to the dead.

Pádraig Grant on Instagram

Address:  The Pádraig Grant Gallery, The Annexe, John's Gate Street, Wexford, Ireland +353 (0)87 2866 466

All Images on this website are the copyright property of the photographer, Pádraig Grant, and may only be used with  written permission.