I received the following picture in an e-mail this morning from a friend (many of you have likely seen it). Though it is now quite old, I had never seen it before and was extremely distressed by the amazingly horrific and powerful scene that it captured. It seemed extraordinarily relevant given the current situation in Darfur and the ongoing struggle to see some kind of resolute action happen there. What kind of action would that be? I don't have any answers, but I'm trying to honestly face the questions along with the rest of you. I've included (after a copy of Kevin Carter's journal entry, written not too long before he committed suicide) a copy of my response to this incredibly jolting e-mail (perhaps sanctimonious, definitely angry, and hopelessly conflicted as I watch my little daughter on the floor, also struggling to to try crawl, albeit for infinitely different reasons).
Kevin Carter's journal entry:
This was found in his diary ,
Dear God, I promise I will never waste my food no matter how bad it can taste and how full I may be. I pray that He will protect this little boy, guide and deliver him away from his misery. I pray that we will be more sensitive towards the world around us and not be blinded by our own selfish nature and interests.
I hope this picture will always serve as a reminder to us that how fortunate we are and that we must never ever take things for granted.
Please don't break.. keep on forwarding to our friends On this good day. Let's make a prayer for the suffering in anywhere any place around the globe and send this friendly reminder to others Think & look at this...when you complain about your food and the food we wasted daily........
Let me ask the most obvious and perhaps most controversial question. Why didn't the journalist carry the child to the U.N. food camp? Why do we act so powerless when the power to make a difference so often lies right in our very hands (in this case, quite literally)? Are we afraid of the fact that we can do the right thing, that we do have the choice? Are we frightened by the fact that there really is good in the world, that it is ultimately stronger than evil, and that it might lead us to places where we do not want to go if we acknowledge it? Was Kevin worried about breaking the rules or doing something that would have seemed (or actually have been) out of bounds? Wanting to share the story with the rest of the world is certainly a very noble aim, but how can you in that same moment vacate your moral responsibility to a fellow human being? It is sad to note that we more often act like voyeuristic vultures than we do as human beings. My heart is broken for both the photographer and the young boy. They had the power to bring life to one another, to heal one another's brokenness, but were not able to make that connection. I wouldn't ask these questions if I hadn't faced similar (though far less severe) decisions in my own life, and learned through the overall process that we do have the power to make a difference. And one of the main things I have learned is that we cannot expect to be faithful in the big things of life if we have not been faithful in the little things on a daily basis (inviting our neighbors to dinner, practicing hospitality, spending quality time with our families and friends, regularly associating with people of "low" station, being kind to folks who are struggling, looking for opportunities to do good, mounting frequent offensives against cynicism, etc.). We are accountable for what we know to be true. Therefore, let judgement begin with me and my house............choose this day whom you will serve...............come Lord Jesus, come....................people ask "where is God?" and God asks "where are we?" Thanks for sharing this picture with me. I'm sorry if I've said too much.......I just can't remain silent in the face of such things.