Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Reflection: The Story of Kevin Carter & the Sudanese Child

Just yesterday, I read a newly blog post from one of my favorite bloggers and online buddy at the same time - anne a.k.a anniniput - that really caught my attention... and eventually moved me. Immediately, I've realized that despite of all the negative things that I am currently into, still I am lucky... and because of this fact, I am thankful...

Kevin Carter's Pulitzer Prize winning photo in 1994 during the Sudan Famine. The picture depicts a famine stricken child being stalked by a vulture. The child is crawling towards a United Nations food camp, located a kilometer away.

The picture that you see above is taken by the late Kevin Carter which won him the "Pulitzer Prize" in 1994 as Feature Photography. The photo you see depicts the Sudan famine during that time... where the vulture is staring at the helpless and starving Sudanese child who is heading towards the United Nations food camp which is just about a kilometer away.

... and three (3) months later after Kevin took the picture, he committed suicide. And it is said to be due to depression.

Take a look at the photo again... and perhaps try to reflect...

The Sudanese child and Kevin's tale happened more than a decade ago, yet although it's been 15 years already, still our situation today is just the same as before, or even worst!

... Landing near the village of Ayod, Carter and Silva began work at an overwhelmed feeding centre. Carter found the scene distressing and took a stroll in the bush to calm his nerves. A soft whimpering sound caught his attention. It was a pitiful, animal-like sound. He moved towards it until he found the source. A young African girl was crawling weakly towards the centre of a clearing. She didn't have the energy to stand and, emaciated, stood little chance of survival. If the plight of this little girl couldn't stir the world into action nothing would, as Carter knew instinctively and immediately. He crouched with his camera, ready to frame an eye-level shot. As he did so, a vulture landed behind her, obviously awaiting the moment of death. He carefully framed the photograph, being careful not to disturb the bird, and clicked. He waited about 20 minutes, waiting for the bird to fly off, and when it didn't, he chased it away.

Carter sat under a tree, watched her struggle for a while, smoked a cigarette and 'talked to God'. He did not help the girl. Utterly depressed, he went back to Silva and explained what had happened, wiping his eyes and saying 'I see all this, and all I can think of is Megan. I can't wait to hug her when I get home.
- BBC - h2g2

With the above photo, Kevin tried to show us and the whole world, the plight of the Sudanese people of that time... Yet because of the photo itself, he was instead criticize and questioned in different way. Had he done the right thing? Had he done enough by bringing the plight of the children of the Sudan to the world's breakfast tables? Still, at this stage, I am doubtful of a positive answer to the question.

Accordingly, Kevin had told his friends and those other people close to him, that if only he had the opportunity again, he would have helped and rescued the helpless little girl instead... But then, it was really too late for such realization... never could someone bring back the hands of time or what had happened already, but surely one could learn from it.

As sad as the story is, it makes us grateful and appreciative of the way we live and of the things that we have. It only proves that no matter how bad things seem to be, there is always someone suffering more than we would ever know. If we could only be more sensitive and appreciative towards the world around us and not be blinded by our own selfish nature and interests, then perhaps we could avoid ourselves from miseries and any form of sufferings.

It is really so disturbing and alarming at the same time that until now there are still those people who lived life as they please, and just taking things for granted without even thinking or considering the fact that on the other side of this world there are those who are battling for their own survival. Worst thing is, it even includes helpless children who don't have the choice but to struggle and fight in order for them to live. And there are these issues which you normally call nonsense issues.

This is when social responsibility comes into place. Just like you, I also have my own problems that somehow stops me from doing things that I really wanted to do... and it is very true indeed at this stage of my life wherein I am currently facing problems that I have never been into before, but I am still trying to live life normally because I know that it is the only option I have that would help me ease all the pains I have. We know that we all have our own problems and taking a little time for ourselves won't surely hurt. However, we do not have to feel so desperate about the current situation and commit unnecessary things that would rather complicate our current situation or worsen any problem that we are currently into.

I hope this picture will always serve as a reminder or a "wake-up call" to all of us. May this tale teach us how to be grateful for what we have, to consider how fortunate we are and that we must never ever take things for granted. The drama of this what we call life continues to happen... and for as long as we keep on closing our eyes and pretending to be blinded by the truth, this world will forever be just a story of the Sudanese child and Kevin.



Jamie said...

can you add me in your blog roll (links exchange)... I already added you in my links exchange... my blog address is this:

for other people, you can also leave a comment in my blog if you want to be added in my blog roll (links exchange).

anniniput said...

thanks for the repost, I enjoyed reading it. Talaga nga namang wake up call sya. And yes you're right. We have to be grateful for whatever we have, tama na ang complaining at maging productive nalang.

Salamat din kay Kevin Carter, his photograph will forever remain a lesson for us.

Have a nice day atenean.. buenas dias from Zamboanga! :D

Evelyn said...

Really the picture made me feel so sad and pity about the things around us in the world and moreover we are very much blessed to have this life. Good post.

atenean101 said...

sure, for as long as you`ll do better with your blog i will surely add you.

so are you really a rookie blogger? if you are, then better seek some advices from the pros, but pls don`t consider me as one `coz for sure i am really not. hehe.

thanks again!

atenean101 said...

thanks din sis. it`s 1994 and what year it is now... grabe, i am really thankful kasi ur blog brought this up kung hindi, hindi ko sana malalaman ang story ni kevin carter pati ng kawawang bata.

and yes, may this serve as a wake up call. just looking at the pic, i really can`t help but shed a tear... nakakatindig balahibo.

atenean101 said...

yes indeed. there are a lot of good things that we should be grateful of... we have our family... we have our friends... we have our goverment...

thanks for the comment, i really do appreciate it! hope you`ll try to repost this on your blog, and let`s spread the lesson we could learn from this story.

thanks again.

Evelyn said...

Hi Friend,

Thanks for your reply. Yes we always blessed what we have. Basically I am web designer, I am not sure whether I am having the correct mail ID of yours, so contacting through this again. And one more thing, if you need any custom logo, banner or header or some seo services for your site, we can do for no money. If you need kindly get back to me.

Name : Evelyn Roberts
Email : or

atenean101 said...

wow, thank you so much for the offer evelyn. you're such a kind blogger. anyway, i am still thinking of what to request... maybe in the soon, since i am still in the process of planning things for upgrading my blog in preparation of my upcoming blog anniversary. hehe... i will be contacting you as soon as i already know what i will be needing.

thanks again!

atenean101 said...

and oh, i forget to mention that you have the right mail ID... i`ve read your email... hehe.

Courage Philippines said...

It's a pitiful site. Did the photojournalist help the sick child after taking photos? If he did then it's sad and he would really feel guilty for not helping the child.

atenean101 said...

well according to the story i`ve read... after taking the photo, kevin immediately went back to the camp...

... accordingly, after kevin had taken the photograph, he waited about 20 minutes, waiting for the bird to fly off, and when it didn't, he chased it away.

... then he sat under a tree, watched the child struggle for a while, smoked a cigarette and 'talked to God'. he did not help the girl.

but who are we to criticize or to question kevin for what he did? should we be in his place by that time, do you think we could have done what should really be done... the right one?

but don't get me wrong here... what i wanted to emphasize here is for us not to be that judgemental... of course, it is a fact that what he did is very wrong, he could have helped the poor girl through the camp but he did not do it. even kevin himself knew it... it's just that, situation did not really permit him to do it.

and that's the reason why, i wanted my readers to reflect... to realize how lucky they are, and to learn from kevin and the sudanese child's tale.