I listened to a story told by a Facebook influencer yesterday. Her story was that of a broken childhood. One in which her mother chose to play the victim in all aspects of her life. Its assumable that if you live long enough, you will see someone like this. They will be the parent capable of weaving a web of guilt so strongly that it will catch anyone even near it. No matter the problem, the solution should always be to side with them. Their life was made horrible by some reason or some excuse. They never got their fair shake; and the reason for it was certainly something of which they themselves had no control over. As though caught in the swell of a sudden storm, just victims without cause.
The picture above was taken by a photographer Kevin Carter in 1993. While in Sudan, he was covering the famine there. This photo shows a girl alone while being watched by a vulture. The photo itself is absolutely heartbreaking. While the girl’s parents were helping to unload a cargo plane carrying food, she is left to fend for herself. The photo brought outrage against the photographer. Why would he not assist the child or scare the vulture off? The press had been warned to not have contact with the famine stricken for fear of spreading disease. The next year, this same photo won The Pulitzer Prize.The very same year, Mr. Carter drove to a park where he used to play as a child. Once there, he ran a hose from his exhaust back into his vehicle and died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Most people are not thrill seekers. We tend to see the world through someone else’s eyes while we watch from thousands of miles away. Its a choice we make to avert our eyes as though to dismiss tragedy and terror or watch as though it were happening next door in the alley behind the house. Society finds itself so impaled in its own stories to fail to see others or live through the eyes of someone else and never even feel the sound of their own heartbeat. It is an odd and envious amount of space between both that you wonder if there is a way to be in your own skin and still feel the pain of another.
Everyone can easily encase themselves within their own walls. They can also make those walls too slick to scale. As children, we see characters exist in their self made heaven while reality often puts us in our man-made hell. Personally, I have chosen over time to eliminate walls and do my best to simply exist in the time that I am. It is better to make peace with your past and welcome your future regardless of the insecurities it may hold.
Certain things will always stick with you. Some of them, you keep to yourself as though it is important to hold out a bit of yourself only to you for sanity sake. This photo has always been one of those things for me. I was in Europe during the conflict in Bosnia and the beginning of issues in Kosovo. It is like yesterday in my mind. You can still see the TV and you can still hear the ongoing mantra, “genocide in ……” There is this photo and an understanding of Somalia and African nations who continuously do nothing but attempt to completely wipe the Earth of their enemy.
Why is one war so much more important than another? Why is one life worth more? Why is someone worth more attention or more press? This little girl did not have a name. But she was the picture of what we as a society can allow to happen without ever thinking of another. We simply take only the time to think of our own situations and hang-ups. I don’t fault people for figuring out their lives either. Each one of us must work through things in our own way. It is imperative though that we look to others and understand that our bottom could be much further down than it is.