Judge not lest ye shall be judged!


Sudan-Famine: Vulture eying the emancipated girl Photo: Kevin Carter

Is there anybody who is not familiar with this pic? This photo won the Pulitzer Prize. The photo was taken in 1994 during the Sudan famine.
The picture depicts a famine stricken child crawling towards an United Nations food camp, located a kilometer away. The vulture is waiting for the child to die so that it can eat it.

This picture shocked the whole world. No one knows what happened to the child. The New York Times who published this photo had to run a special editorial saying that the girl had enough strength to walk till the food camp but no one knows the Ultimate fate.

Kevin Carter

Kevin Carter

The photographer Kevin Cartercommitted suicide three months later due to depression. He not only received the prize but also drew a lot of flak for not helping the child and instead using the  20 mins to adjust lens which got him the prize. Recently on one of the Facebook albums this pic was posted with caption that questioned the human values of Kevin for having taken this photo instead of helping her which prompted this post.

Had he helped, he would have helped one child but this picture caught the attention of an entire world! which is a better outcome and let us not forget his job was to take these pictures. That was his objective of being there. He was DOING HIS JOB!

It is much easier to judge Carter’s values sitting in our air-conditioned rooms and researching the history on our computers using Google. Ever wondered what it must be like to be a war photographer? To see people die in front of you, to be in the line of fire yourself, to see your colleague and friend die in a firing while taking those pics. How easy it is to see suffering like the kind in Sudan and still continue doing your job with the same passion.

Portion of Kevin’s suicide letter read “I am depressed … without phone … money for rent … money for child support … money for debts … money!!! … I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain … of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners…I have gone to join Ken [recently deceased colleague Ken Oosterbroek] if I am that lucky.” He was a white male who protested against apartheid. He was a member of the “Bang-bang club”. Through his photography he also exposed many other evil practices like Necklacing.

Ok now back to our “Judge others from your comfort zone” club. Here are a few questions for you.

  • When was the last time you contributed to a relief fund and how much(this by the way is the least you can do)
  • When was the last time you even visited any affected area? Even if you are given a chance most of us would be busy with our own lives or give up the chance for fear of contracting a disease or getting into the chaos
  • How much do you contribute to your local society welfare
  • Are you associated with even one NGO and what is your contribution to it?
  • When you see a begging child, what do you do
  1.  Comment on the sorry state of India
  2. Give the child a rupee or two and get rid of them
  3. Take a child to your house and give a job
  4. Take the child to an NGO and try to get help to get make them employable and give the child make it literate
  5. Stop the child for a minute and speak to it about the concerns and why the child is forced to beg
Answer these questions and compare yourself to the above Kevin’s work and read the suicide note of the foolish guy who committed suicide even after receiving an award and compare who is more human. The answer would obviously be “The Judge Club”. Of course yes isn’t it more human to be selfish and judgmental! It requires more sacrifice and guts to do what Carter did than just being human!!

15 thoughts on “Judge not lest ye shall be judged!

  1. An eye opener. Agree with you on all the points but is this not human nature. This ia US. The human species.
    And this is what we do.
    If each of us did something world would be a better place else we know the likea of inspector rajesh mishra posted in a village called SOTHA in punjab who had the audacity to grab the 52 laptops sent for a school with proper paper work. And only release them when he got a bribe of rs. 10,000. And stil for some odd reason returned only 38 laptops.

    When brought to a superiors notice his comment was “mil gaye na.” should have come earlier to him ..
    What can one do to help.. This is just one example compare the officer to the photographer of this pic.

    • Hmmm so he still made money the 14 other laptops! smart a** ! Someday his kids would go to some such school and then the Inspector would be different and the school would end up collecting money from the parents like him. Or even worse the Inspector just wouldn’t release the laptops and the kids are left with no computers at school…

    • The photo caught World’s attention which ensured Sudan got the required help. That saved many more lives than just one. He could have helped the girl yes but even without that what he did was lot more than what a lot of others are doing. He stayed in Africa during difficult times and struggled through with them fought against apartheid and put his own life at risk. He could very well have opted for an easier life. Lets not discount all that!

  2. and about social work…. you are also an indian and you know better the condition in India even today
    I don’t need to explain here with how many NGOs I’m assosciated with and what I do with begging kids.. my charity work is not for fame..so let it be private.
    His suicide speaks everything…and it’s not only about him..it applies to each and every photographer who clicks such picture
    taking these pics is not offence if it’s to bring in world’s notice but along with that if they are human enough they should at least help them instead of letting them die

    • Whatever be the condition of India, if want to, we can help in our own ways. How we find excuses when it comes to us but point fingers at others and highlight their flaws forgetting all the good work was exactly my point.

      And by that standards every photographer/ journalist who covers an unfortunate incident is to be blamed. Why single out Kevin Carter?

      P.S: Good or Bad. It is the truth. If the bad things start getting masked, our history text books would be incomplete and flawed. And not to forget , a lot less pictures.

      • M not pointing finger only at him…but all those who make it for their own sake that’s what i have explained in my post and my earlier comment also…this picture was just an example which i used for my post
        i guess you are not getting my point clear

      • I get your point.Only that I feel the example that you chose was a wrong one. The title calls him a ‘Human Vulture’! I just felt he doesn’t deserve such a cruel remark. There are worser things that people do who deserve such titles.

  3. Most people are so quick to judge. As I sat and read about the photo, I had to stop, and let the words sink into my mind, and process what happened. Then I continued to read the entire story and it was hear wrenching. I did not know what “necklacing” was, and I went to the Google link and was sickened by the practice. Yes, people can go ahead for judging, let that be their ignorance. I cannot imagine what he went through in his mind after witnessing all that he saw. I can only imagine his mind was in shock after seeing the child.

    You have a beautiful mind, keep writing!

  4. I agree with you, very often people make judgements thoughtlessly. And doesn’t every body have his own point of view? That’s what makes life interesting – no two fingers are alike!

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