“Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other.”
– Mark Twain
It was one of the toughest times in Ethiopia’s history – in 2 years (1983-1985), 1.2 million people died of starvation, almost half a million refugees created and 2.5 million people displaced from their homes.
A South American photographer, Sebastiao Delgado, took incredible photos of the people’s suffering there and they woke the world up.
The response was so fast that within a few months the crisis was over. It took the eye, dedication and passion of a great human being to show that we, humans, have a moral duty to share our abundance with those in need.
A few years later, another photographer, Kevin Carter, took a photo of a young Sudanese girl, who collapsed on the ground on the way to the food center. She was so weak she just couldn’t do the last few steps. As she collapsed, a vulture, one of those bald scavengers that we’ve all seen in Africa, landed nearby, watching this little girl. The photo won Pullitzer prize in 1993 for this event and attracted great praise, money and fame for Carter. Unfortunately, he did not help the girl get to the food she so desperately needed, he just watched as she struggled to survive.
The major difference between these two renowned photographers was their school of thought: you see, Delgado was of the mentality that all of us have the possibility to change the circumstances of the poor, the hungry and the orphan. We have a moral responsibility to engage in changing the world and make it a better one. Carter believed that we should not interfere in people’s lives and let nature run its course, because we are not responsible for people’s situations and therefore, we should not try to change their destiny.
This comparison goes much deeper than you think – it is how the world is split today, in spectators and actors. Half the world is happy just watching the news, reading about the terrible suffering in the world and go on with their day; unaffected, desensitized and with a clear conscience. The other half feels that they need to do something, as they cannot sit idle and watch little children die. The Carters and the Delgados! Which one are you?
In the end, we all are responsible for the fate of the world and human consciousness is an incredible force, because we can only survive as a group, otherwise our species has no chance.
Sebastiao Delgado went on to photograph other global events and continue to change the world. During his lifetime, he transformed a desert in South America into a tropical jungle, planting more than 4 million trees and restoring nature back to its former beauty.
Kevin Carter committed suicide 1 year after the famed photo… All the fame, money and praise were no good to him in the end.
Come with me on my path to change the world for hungry, thirsty and abandoned children and live a life full of peace and meaning.
“A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.”
– Jack London