Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Kevin Carter

Has anyone else seen this chilling photograph before? The South African photographer Kevin Carter took it during the famine in Sudan in 1994. The little girl is struggling to make her way to the United Nations food camp, which is only one kilometer away. She's being stalked by a vulture, waiting for her to die.

This photo won Carter the Pulitzer Prize. Weeks later he killed himself.

A new documentary has been made about Kevin Carter called "The Death of Kevin Carter." It's even nominated for an Academy Award. He lived a crazy life, as he and three friends, also white photographers from South Africa, committed themselves to photographing the violence and war in the streets that resulted from apartheid.

I came across his story yesterday and am very eager to see the film (either when it is available to rent or if there's a screening nearby.) I think his life and death raise interesting questions. Tormented by the things he witnessed (and then photographed so the world could see), he essentially lost all hope. He knew the world needed to see what was happening, and he sacrificed his life to do this.

I believe that all of us would struggle if we were exposed to such horrific, unjust things on a daily basis. I think we'd feel helpless, question God, and probably lose our hope. I'm sure Kevin Carter felt all those things and more, and sadly turned to suicide.

I don't know if Kevin knew Jesus. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't, but his life and death and the work that he did remind me that true justice, hope and peace can only come from God. We don't have to look around this earth for very long to figure out that there are a lot of devastating, sad things here. Life is far from "easy" for most people on this planet, and if you and I actually saw what life is like for those people we would quickly become devastated ourselves. But praise be to God that we can put our hope in Him, that He knows the depth of suffering that those people face, and that He cares and loves them. AND that He wants us to help them.

So go see the documentary. Like I said I think Kevin Carter's story raises some interesting points and is a picture of how we truly can't place our hope in mankind, ourselves, anyplace but in Jesus. Thank goodness.


shells said...

The crazy thing is the people that DO live in these situations and follow the Lord. And we sit here in America and ask God to help us find a parking spot or get an A on a test. God is so much bigger than we could ever imagine. And he loves that little girl in the picture just as much as he loves all of us. I think he actually loves her more. I have been struggling lately on why I am here and they are there. I dont deserve to here!!!! Maybe I can just adopt them all.....

Brianna Heldt said...

Thanks so much for your comment Shelley. I think it's sweet how open and honest you are with the stuff you're thinking through.

I agree, it's amazing to hear about (or see) those who in spite of the rough things they have to live through, can still have joy in the Lord. More than anyone they probably understand that He is a refuge.

God really is bigger than we understand. And to be honest I too have been struggling lately as to why I'm here and they're there. I think somehow (and maybe I'm wrong; I don't know) that we are supposed to be grateful for God's sovereign plan and that we're blessed beyond measure here in middle class America. I think we're also supposed to mourn for (and HELP) those suffering. AND I think part of why God blesses us so much is so that we can help others. I definitely think we as individuals and a nation can do a lot more than we do. I know I can at least.

I think we won't understand fully, this side of Heaven anyway, why some starve and some have more than they need. For me this forces me to learn to trust God in big ways, even though I don't understand the "why's."

shells said...

I think our families should just move to Africa and start an orphanage/food center/bible school/well building ministry! Between our husbands engineering degrees and our love for kids, I think it could be good. You in? :)

Jeannett Gibson said...

You kill me Brianna.

But I love you for it.

Thank you for bringing me outside of my own little selfish world and making me think past what I'm making for dinner or if my powerpoint presentation is adequate. Makes you feel guilty for worrying about silly things...but I suppose that we all just have to trust in God and do our best to use our resources and gifts fully.

Renee said...


Thanks for this. I have been struggling with the things I experienced and saw in Ethiopia. It is hard to just go back to my upper middle-class, cookie cutter neighborhood, sanitary little world after the things I have seen. What do I do? How can I help effect real change for the millions suffering. What is God's purpose for those with abundant wealth (and those of us here in America ARE abundantly wealthy in comparison to the third world. We would NEVER see things like we saw in Ethiopia here in America)?

The lyrics form this Casting Crowns song has been ringing in my ears..

But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way


Avery said...

there are many ways to help

I love these guys, you can sponsor a widow in Ethiopia to adopt an orphan in Ethiopia for $25 a month.

They also work with the underground church going into Muslim communities and starting underground churches.

There are so many more out there that are doing something, but we must do something, just pick one and go for it.

also go here and download the song feed the poor, you'll like it

Brianna Heldt said...

Shelley we are so in! :) (Seriously do you ever think you'll go live there for awhile?)

Jeannett, yeah therein lies the tension...on the one hand we live our everyday lives that involve worries and concerns...on the other hand we know sad things are happening elsewhere, where those worries and concerns make ours look small. But for whatever reasons God has us here, so I think you're right, we have to appreciate what we have and use to help others.

I think we do ourselves a disservice when we dwell on feeling guilty for the blessings God's given us. Blessings are for Him to give, or take away, or not give, etc. But hopefully those feelings will translate into us reaching out to help others, because I think that's a huge reason why He has given us Americans so much.

Renee, I LOVE that song!!! The questions you ask are the same ones I've been thinking about since getting back. I'd love to hear more of your thoughts (or anyone's) on them.

Avery, my husband and I checked out the website and it looks like a really neat ministry. Thanks for the link!

voice said...

Or maybe there is no God, and there are just a lot of bad things that happen to people. It's not right, it's not fair, it's not justifiable, or rectifiable. There is no greater plan, we are just here now living and breathing until we stop.

Now if that is the case, which it may well be, then maybe you should just feel lucky, rather than naval gazing and wondering why you aren't a poor starving African.


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