06 June, 2006

Inhumanity: A Prayer

I received an email with a picture of a famished toddler in Sudan struggling to make it to food, with a vulture some yards behind her,waiting for her to die. The point of the email was that we cannot ignore the plight of others. After the photo it had a supposed diary entry that seemed too contrived so I decided to look for information on the photographer. The photographer, Kevin Carter only scared off the vulture after waiting to get a perfect shot, he did not help the girl. Kevin Carter won a Pulitzer for this photo, and a few months after receiving the award he committed suicide.

I understand that for a photojournalist there is a fine line they must walk. Often they are witnessing history. Do you get the shot or do you intervene? But we are all human first. I do not fault him for getting a heartrending shot. The fault is that he did not see his subject as human, just as a shot. The fault is in not reacting to that which is heartrending. If you see her struggling to get to food that just might keep her alive another day, would you turn your back to her and leave her to muster the strength on her own?

My focus is not on Kevin Carter, he has been dead since July of 1994. The point is to look at it, frankly and honestly. What could you do to help her if you were a witness to her struggle? Can you even see her as being just as human as you? Would you help your daughter, niece, cousin, sister, a stranger? Is she less worthy of life because of where she was born, because of the color of her skin, because she cannot call out to you?

Bless us all. I pray that I never walk by someone who is mustering their last to just get through the day and fold my hands rather than offer some help. I pray that I am aware enough to see.

Lord, Please bless us all.


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