Intimate Enemy:
images and voices of the rwandan genocide

Intimate Enemy:
Images and Voices of the Rwandan Genocide

photographs by Robert Lyons
introduction & interviews by Scott Straus

7.5 x 9 in., 192 pp., 78 duotone illus.
Zone Books, 2006

This compelling volume juxtaposes two distinct projects related to the aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Photographer Robert Lyons visually investigates the context in which justice was decided and applied, and presents neutral but informative portraits of perpetrators and victims. Scholar Scott Straus’s interviews with Rwandan prison inmates reveal individuals who had only two options: “kill” or “be killed.” As survivors, they struggle to comprehend and defend their actions during the atrocities.

The design of the book respects the gravity of the content. In the first section, interviews read as intense conversations between inmates and an often-incredulous questioner. Interspersed among these texts are smaller photographs of Rwandan prisons and halls of justice. The second section of the book presents the photographic portrait series. Exquisite duotone reproductions simply placed on pages evoke the intimate community within which the genocide took place.