Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Saddest Picture I Have Ever Seen

Sometimes, very rarely, a photograph can change our lives, open our eyes, make us notice. This is one of those rarest of rare photographs. It shows a vulture patiently watching over a starving Sudanese girl.

The photo is 15-years old but somehow I've never seen it before. It has been chosen by Vanity Fair as one of the 25-best news photographs of all time.


K-Rae said...

The photographer committed suicide a few years after taking that photograph...I can't remember the exact time frame, or the name of the photographer, but I remember learning about it.

Anonymous said...

We live on a planet where it is made up of about 90% water and yet we places on this world where people die of thirst. We have people on this earth that have so much money that they have no idea what to do with it,and yet we still have people that don't have a single cent to spend. The industrialized world have send billions of dollars over the years,and it seems to me that nothing has changed. We in Canada sometimes complain over the silliest of things,while in other parts of the world,people are dying of starvation and thirst. It really breaks my heart when I see pictures like this whether on TV or other places. It's a darn shame that this humane suffering exist still today. Any comments to this?

The Mound of Sound said...

I suppose that shouldn't be too surprising. Just looking at this one picture is horrible. Yet it is just one picture. I can only imagine just how many scenes like this were imprinted on his mind.

susansmith said...

Any comments to this? Yeah, global capitalism where individualism trumps collectivism and human decency.
Where western style civilization of overdeveloped nations ensures that underdeveloped nations will always remain underdeveloped. That the western elites will ensure that "real News" is hidden from view and that really "there is nothing that we can do." Because what we are doing "unconsciously" is by all intents "conscious."
Unconsciousness is a chose.

Finally, we always look over there and ignore our own little "Sudanese girl." She is represented in our continual widening gap between rich and poor, the shrinking middle class, third-world conditions on first nation reserves, increase in homelessness, institutionalized foodbanks, more homeless shelters, increased minimum wage service sector jobs, and I could go on.

Anonymous said...

Just sad...utterly heartbreaking...what else can be said...we are so lucky to live in the country we do...

The Mound of Sound said...

Right, I totally share your concerns. I know one thing that isn't helping and that's cutting our foreign aid.

But you're wrong about nothing having changed. Just ask anyone from the Sahel, sub-Saharan Africa.

They know all about Global Warming because they're living with the devastation we've created for them. We, the most advantaged and also the most removed from the worst impacts of global warming dismiss the whole business as a hoax while our excesses kill people like this girl, the least advantaged and most vulnerable.

Do you think this girl cares whether her starvation is caused by tribal warfare or genocide or drought? I'm sure it was all the same to her.

It's curious that we don't hear our politicians, even the greenest of the lot, raging about this. Of course if we were to accept our role in their suffering that would make us what? Oh yes, the word is "monsters." What we're doing is monstrous.

Best we talk about something else but I can tell you who is talking plainly about this - the people who are reeling from the impacts of global warming. They know what's happening to them and they know who is inflicting that suffering on them.

Despite what it says for our society, I think any political leader who did focus our attention on this, make us look at it and think about it, would pay dearly for it at the polls.

Anonymous said...

maybe just maybe, we should stop selling weapons to these countries so they can use the money to buy food? and put a condition on financial aid that it has to go to feeding their populations not their soldiers. We are as responsible for this picture as are the politicians, we dont get involved in what is our governments not a chosen few, we are the bosses so we are responsible.

Anonymous said...

To the mound of sound post 9:21 am

I have to disagree with you
when it comes to global warming. You probably think that it is man made,I think it is a naturally cycle of the
planet where we would not make much of a difference.

If we would look at most if not all these third world countries we can see that the problem I think is their leaders (Government) corruption etc..etc.

The money that the west has send over the years to these countries by in large I in my opinion don't get to the people that are destined to receive the aide again,because of corruption I think. I'll give you an example. Remember Burma or Myanmar I think it was in May of this year when they got hit by a Cyclone and the huge flooding that followed. The west back then were greeted with a lot of resistance by the Burma or Myanmar government. Now we were there to help those poor people and nothing else. This is a huge problem that some of these third world countries have. I personally don't know how we could get around this.

It's easy for some of us to criticize the west for not doing much or blame it on the greed of capitalism. I think it is wrong to do so.

I don't think there is a country on the planet that doesn't want third world countries to prosper. It would only make good business sense.There would be more trading thus more people buying our products. At least that is my opinion.

The Mound of Sound said...

We certainly agree on anthropogenic global warming. Research verifying my side's position comes in almost daily, week upon week, year upon year. Do you truly believe that, were this not man-made, the petrochemical industry, which has billions at stake on this very issue wouldn't have funded research clearly debunking it? But I digress.

We do agree on the corruption problem. Even in Afghanistan, where our side notionally controls things, vast amounts of aid are siphoned off via corruption.

I don't mean to be cynical but I think there are plenty of governments around the world that couldn't care less about suffering in this region. We let three million innocents get slaughtered in the Congo and that multi-year atrocity barely made the back pages of our newspapers.