The National Mall in Washington DC recently became the home of a mass grave that contained more than one million bones. While these particular bones may not be real – made from clay and papier-mâché – they still represent a very real issue happening across the world.
Set up as a “visible petition”, the bones are meant as a representation of the genocide and other mass atrocities that still occur regularly around the world. Countries that frequently appear on the offenders list include Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Somalia, Burma and Sudan
The one million bones created for the mass grave in Washington DC were hand crafted over the last three years with the help of more than 100,000 people in 30 countries. Once finished, It then took more than 1,000 volunteers, all dressed in white, more than four hours to lay out the mass grave.
Apart from creating greater awareness around the issue, there was also a fundraising element involved. For every bone created by a student, the Bezos Family Foundation donated one dollar to CARE’s work fighting poverty in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
As well as the bones, a number of esteemed speakers such as genocide survivors John Dau, Eric Ndaheba and Eva Kor addressed the personal tragedy of genocide, the significance of the bones, and the freedom of forgiveness.
Instead of simply sticking to demonstrations, there were a number of activists trained by the Enough Project that lobbied congress to try and advance specific legislation on genocide in Sudan and Congo. Over 200 of these specially-trained activists met with staff of more than 90 representatives.
Some of the activists even chose to take a bone or two with them into the meetings, making sure that their significance, along with their message, wasn’t lost on the representatives.
Do you think the one million bones that make up the mass grave in Washington DC is a powerful enough message for the issue of genocide?