News / USA

Bones Form Visual Petition Against Genocide

Bones Form Visual Petition Against Genocidei
X
June 14, 2013 12:26 PM
It started with just one bone, and within a few hours, over one million of them were laid out in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington. The display was a collaborative effort, involving 30 countries and the United States, to call attention to the crime of genocide. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
Bones Form Visual Petition Against Genocide
It started with just one bone, and within a few hours, over one million of them were laid out in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

The display was a collaborative effort, involving 30 countries and the United States, to call attention to the crime of genocide.

Symbolic display

Thousands of volunteers from across the country arranged the hand-made bones to form a symbolic mass grave and visual petition against genocide, which is the deliberate elimination of a particular race, culture or ethnic group.

The event was the brainchild of artist Naomi Natale, founder of the non-profit organization, One Million Bones. Its mission is to use the intersection of art and activism to focus attention on genocide.

More than one million handmade bones were laid out in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington to focus attention on genocide. (VOA/J. Taboh)More than one million handmade bones were laid out in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington to focus attention on genocide. (VOA/J. Taboh)
“It’s really inspiring and humbling to see everybody come together,” said Natale. “We’re all dressed in white and we’re laying down bones with the intention of raising awareness about these atrocities that go on in Sudan and South Sudan and the Congo, Burma and Somalia. It’s powerful and I hope that people feel that as they carry these bones and they go to lay them down and that they feel connected.” 

Feeling connected

Event participant Orela Anani felt that connection.

“I’m familiar with genocide because I studied the genocide in Rwanda, Cambodia, the lives lost in the Sudan Civil war and several other countries in the world,” she said. “And just being here today is a symbolic remembrance of why I’m grateful to be alive and why I should pay homage to those who lost their lives because their spirits are with us, as they say, ‘we are one and the same.’”

Eric Ndaheba, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a survivor of the Gatumba [Burundi] massacre of 2004, when armed combatants attacked the refugee camp where he and his family were seeking shelter. He lost family members in the massacre and says he is happy to see such a symbolic tribute to the lives lost to genocide.

“I believe that everyone who came here will take the message to their community so that people can be helped in the Congo and other countries,” he said.

Thousands of volunteers from across the country arranged over one million handmade bones to symbolize a mass grave on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.. (VOA/J. Taboh)Thousands of volunteers from across the country arranged over one million handmade bones to symbolize a mass grave on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.. (VOA/J. Taboh)
The bone-laying ceremony was part of a three-day event in the nation’s capital that included international speakers and musical performances, workshops and a candle-lit vigil. There was also a Take a Bone to Congress event.

Bone-making

The bones were crafted out of paper, plaster and clay by 125,000 people, including students, artists and activists worldwide over a three-year period.

Many communities in the United States hosted their own bone-making events, including churches, synagogues and community centers.

Georgetown Day School in Washington was one of 1,000 schools that participated in the project.

Over 200 students came together a few weeks before the event to make human-like spines, skulls and hip bones out of clay.

The bones used in the display were crafted out of paper, plaster and clay by students, artists and activists from all around the world over a three-year period. (VOA/J. Taboh)The bones used in the display were crafted out of paper, plaster and clay by students, artists and activists from all around the world over a three-year period. (VOA/J. Taboh)
Natale hopes the hands-on project will help children learn about past genocides as well.

“For instance, the Cambodian genocide, the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, the Bosnian genocide," she said, "so many [of them] that we find students, even adults, don’t know of.” 

Logan McDermott, 12, sees the project as “a great way to honor people who are victims of genocide because people in America, we don’t always realize what’s going on in other countries.”

Genocide survivor John Dau is one of the Lost Boys of Sudan who was featured in the award-winning documentary God Grew Tired of Us.

“This event is a clear reminder of what we, the human being that has power, is supposed to do,” he said. “We must actually take action right now.”

Pointing in the direction of the U.S. Capitol, Natale said it’s the people there that need to see these bones the most. “I hope that they’ll be able to come and hear about it and see what our children have made,” she said. “Our children made this symbolic mass grave.”

She hopes that the million bones laid in front of the U.S. Capitol will end up in a permanent display as a memorial to those lost to genocide.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

US Urges Taliban to Stay With Afghan Peace Talks

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
June 13, 2013 4:30 AM
What a huge scale and touching performance ! We should let none of bones being laid from victims not only of genocide but of wars.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs