Thursday, March 18, 2010

My blog's feet have been through a lot

Photograph by Sebastiao Salgado

I first began this blog with a pair of hands. You may recall, if you are a follower of my blog, that they were two hands being cuffed together at the American-Mexican border. All the blogs between that first one and this one have told us many stories. Many tragic details have hopefully left us changed and motivated to see the world differently. It is my hope that this blog will lead you to move. I hope that you will feel a desire to help not just refugees, but one another out. I have never written this blog expecting to convert the next Mother Teresa or to save the world from it's self-destructiveness, but I have written it so that you can see God's beautiful creation that is mankind. We exist. We live. We love. We cry. We have joy. And we suffer. The pictures that you have seen throughout the duration of my blog have hopefully captured that. So like I said earlier, I don't expect any of you to go out there and change the world in an instant. But I do hope that you change the world around you. I hope you can make the world a better place by small and simple things. Lets work together to help those around us who need a simple smile to know that we care.
Sorry, I got side-tracked once again.
So, my final picture for this portion of my blog is the picture of these feet. Once again, Salgado captures an experience, but does not have to put a face to the story. I'll be honest. I don't know what this story is, either. I found this picture on the internet on some Italian blog. However, it is Salgado. You can almost taste the Salgado flavor that is so evident in all his photos. I felt this photo was very fitting to end my blog with, for the journey is complete. The feet of my blog have been through a lot. It's been a trip. I hope you enjoyed it. Who knows when I'll see ya again. Love you all. God bless.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The most important thing is to remember

Recently, talking with one of my friends, I was asked, "Why is your blog the most depressing blog I follow?" or something like that. I thought about that for the past several weeks. I don't mean to come off depressing or annoying in my desire to talk about refugees and human suffering. I don't want to be pessimistic and in reality, I don't believe that I am. I like this quote. It describes me very well.

"When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse."

Amazing things are happening to those who are suffering. The picture I chose today involves remembering those who have suffered in the past and are currently suffering. The most important thing we can do is be aware of their situation and the world that exists around us.
In the film, Hotel Rwanda, a journalist films the atrocities and says, "I think if people see this footage, they'll say Oh, my God, that's horrible. And then they'll go on eating their dinners." The purpose of this blog is for this to not happen. Although we may not be able to help these people personally, the biggest mistake we can make is to forget them, to leave them out of our prayers, to not think that they are human.
Here is my man, a refugee from the Zepa enclave during the Bosnian-Herzegovina conflict between 1992-1995. Probably originally fleeing from Bosnia for refuge, the man ended up in a
United Nations declared "safe area". The Zepa "safe area" only lasted 2 years before the war reached this man, his family, and his friends. The so-called "safe area" was ethnically cleansed forcing people, like this man, to flee for their lives once again.
I don't know this man. I probably will never meet him. He may not still be alive. But the reason I chose this picture is because of the emotion this man shows. It's as if you can tell exactly how this man is feeling without ever having to speak a word to him. Although we don't know him, we can keep them in our hearts, our prayers. We do not have to see this picture, say "that's horrible," and go back to chatting with our friends on facebook.
Thanks for reading. Was this depressing again?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Angola and Landmines

photograph by Sabatiao Salgado

Hello again everyone. Today's photograph comes from Kuito, Angola. Researching for today's post was really quite interesting. I came across a UN article from 1998 on landmines in Angola. I found it very interesting that under my google search of "Kuito, Angola" the first several entries referred to the problems this African country has with landmine dangers. Through war and conflict, millions of landmines have been placed within the vacinity of innocent civilians without the care or concern of military powerhouses. I always feel like I have nothing good to say about the human race, but again, it is simply appalling that the number of military soldiers being injured by this weapon of war seems to be less than the number of innocent people being injured. According to the UN article I read, there is at least one mine per every citizen of Angola. This causes the death or serious injury of over 26,000 individuals a year. You see the disgusting thing is when you look at the economics behind it all. Why are landmines so practical in wartime? Because they are so cheap;
to lay one landmine costs from $3-$10. Why have the landmines not been removed? Because it is too expensive; $300-$1000 to remove just one mine. I simply do not understand the world we live in, where death, destruction, mayhem, terrorism seem to have become a consumer market, whereas the good in the world is becoming more expensive and unreliable. Where have all the good people gone? I know that I used an old article from 1998, and information may have changed since then. My only hope is that Angola, once home of the world's largest amputee population, will have recovered from the condition they used to be in.