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Never forget: Rwandan genocide survivor Mukeshimana.

photo:John Whipple

A Day of Remembrance

On Wednesday, April 6, the commemoration In Memory of the Victims of the Rwandan and Armenian Genocides was held at the College of Saint Rose’s Hubbard Interfaith Chapel. There was a memorial service from 4:30-5 PM, followed by a discussion about the lives and experiences of genocide survivors led by the Rev. Mihran Kupeyan of the Armenian Genocide Recognition Committee and Rwandan genocide survivor Eugenie Mukeshimana.

Mukeshimana, a student at CSR, has been tirelessly working to educate the public on genocide in general, and the Rwandan genocide in particular. Her latest project is a “remembrance fabric,” on which participants can write messages on their reactions to the genocide; it will eventually be sent to the National Genocide Memorial Museum in Kigali, Rwanda.

“The fabric idea was mine,” explained Mukeshimana. “I thought it would be more significant that each message be a personal handwritten message by its author,” she added. And this will only be the first fabric.

“I am hoping to send the first fabric this summer, however, I’ll keep collecting signatures as more people become aware of the Rwandan genocide.”

 

 

—Shawn Stone


Page to Podium

“It’s like having a phantom limb,” remarked Art Spiegelman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of Maus, on living and working in New York City after the World Trade Center was destroyed. Spiegelman, who ventured upstate Monday evening as part of a Skidmore College lecture series, said dust was still settling from the events of Sept. 11, 2001, when he decided to return to comic books—the medium which first won him acclaim—after a long relationship with the New Yorker.

“On Sept. 11, I vowed that if I survived that morning I would return to doing comics full time,” he remembered. “I just kept thinking through it all that I wished I’d done more comics.”

And during Monday evening’s “Comix 101” lecture, Spiegelman explained why the medium is so important to him, how it has evolved over the years and why it occupies such an important niche in popular culture.

“[Comics] echo the way the brain works,” he explained, “[We] think in bursts of language—the kind that fit into speech balloons. . . .When [we] think in pictures—it’s not in holograms, but in icons.”

>From The Yellow Kid to Mad magazine, Spiegelman traced the ups and downs of comics as both a supplement and, eventually, an alternative to mainstream media. While newspapers struggled to maintain a “consensual reality,” said Spiegelman, comics were free to focus on the different realities each person operated within according to their race, gender, age or any number of other characteristics. And in his most recent work, In the Shadow of No Towers, the celebrated comics creator does just that, too—collecting musings on the events that transpired before, during and after Sept. 11 in a hodge-podge of images that reflect recent events—both national and personal—through many sets of eyes.

—Rick Marshall

 

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