Raoul’s Two Cents: June 16, 2023
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Lessons
Warning: Serious topic. Move on to the joke section if you’re not interested.
TaChit (shortcut for my aunt Tita Chit) shared a picture of a starving Sudanese kid. The boy was lunch for the vulture behind him. That photograph garnered the $10k, 1994 Pulitzer Prize for the photographer, Kevin Carter. Four months after receiving the award, Kevin Carter committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. I knew there had to be more to the story and this led me on a Rabbit Trail of tragic incidents.
Kevin was the perfect photo journalist — he had the uncanny knack of being at the right place at the right time. He had many other award-winning photographs depicting political violence in Africa in the 90s. His best friend, Ken Osterbroek, another photographer, was shot dead right beside him. After winning the Pulitzer, people berated him for not helping the boy. He did shoo the vulture away but he didn’t feed the boy. His excuse was there were soldiers constantly guarding him not to interfere. Pounded by the barrage of ghastly, morbid images, he was probably numb to the core. After experiencing so much violence and human tragedy first hand the cancer of depression pushed Kevin to take his own life.
The dying boy was thankfully picked up by the UN and outlived Kevin. Yet only to die in 2007 due to the flu. The writer of the article pleaded for its readers to support their unbiased news agency because it wasn’t funded by some rich oligarch. So I looked at their top headlines. Lotsa news about the Trump indictment. Not a single news about the Biden bribery scandal nor of the politicization of the FBI. Hmmm…
The story of Kevin and the little boy is tragic but the real tragedy is this broken world they left behind. There is a parallel to these events in the Old Testament. I’ve been studying the prophet Amos, and (like all the prophets of the OT) Amos shared the same doom and gloom message to the stubborn Jewish nation: “Repent! For the kingdom of God is at hand!” In other words, change your sinful ways because the fulfillment of God’s will on the earth is happening right now so be sure to choose God’s side.
It reminded me of the depressing scene of Biff’s World in “Back to the Future 2” — the domino effect of one greedy mistake at an earlier time, transformed the once thriving community into a drug-infested, smoky, dangerous garbage dump. Come to think of it, our world today isn’t that far behind, is it?
When good times roll by, many of us forget about God. Most of us pray only when we are in need of something. When we get sick, we go to the doctor. The doctor tells us not to eat our favorite food. We go home. We eat healthy for a while and then we go back to our gluttonous habits. We have this notion that we can mold truth to our reality and our comfort zone. Actually, unless we decide to move away from our unhealthy habits, things will never get better. Unless we move closer to God, things will only get worse.
Don’t feel too bad. God (through Amos) blasted the Jews for their transgressions but he left them (and us) with a glimmer of hope at the very end of the book: God explained that after all the tragedy He will inflict on this ungrateful generation, all things will return to beauty for those who love Him. Definitely something we can look forward to.
But this is just me.
“Yet I will not totally destroy the descendants of Jacob,” declares the Lord. — Amos 9:8
JOKE OF THE WEEK
Thanks to Sandra of La Habra, CA
“And I will always love you” excerpt video.
Video of the Week
Thanks to Art of Sierra Madre, CA
Thanks to Art of Sierra Madre, CA
Thanks to Maling of New Manila, Philippines
Thanks to Tom of Pasadena, CA
I found these
The Traveling Boy
My good friend (and jokester) Terry and I came up with these.