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"Kevin's selfless act" - A person who has had a significant influence on me


boramk 1 / 3  
Sep 26, 2010   #1
Call it bemusement in life, raging hormones or simply just having issues for reasons unknown, I felt empty. I felt ostracised by people who meant the most to me, friends and family, but this feeling was merely self induced, as they had done nothing to me. Why was everything so grey and bleak?

During lunchtime, I would make my way to the coffee shop in the bookstore, ordering my usual and read a few articles in the newspaper and be absolutely disgusted and appalled at what human beings would do to each other. I was bordering on misanthropy. But people are animals, selfish by nature; what was I to do?

Upon leaving the coffee shop a book I was familiar with caught my attention as the cover hosted a famous photograph: a skeletal Sudanese girl being stalked by a vulture. Despite the familiarity of the photograph, it moved me and reminded me of people who were destitute and subjected to absolute poverty, people who were always worse off than me, yet I had the audacity to complain about my life?

I picked up the book, which was entitled The Bang-Bang Club. In it, I discovered who had taken that infamous photograph: Kevin Carter. Kevin was a South African photojournalist, who belonged to a group called the Bang-Bang Club, a group of four photographers who, during the Apartheid era bent on exposing the brutalities of Apartheid, exposed the society in a plethora of photographs. The group also travelled to other parts of Africa, usually the war-torn and famine plagued ones, such as Sudan, in order to publicise human agony and atrocities. One of the members, Ken Oosterbroek was shot in a township east of Johannesburg, days before South Africa held its first free elections. His death was pivotal to the build up of Kevin Carter's life, and later, his death.

Kevin's career had been built on suffering, violence and morbidity. He captured images of executions, hunger and conflict. He grew more depressed with every snapshot. Yet, he was determined to show them to the world for he knew that it would arouse help for Africa.

Kevin's passion inspired me. His images tell stories; and the single snapshots told more of the brutality of life's travails which escape the majority and the fate of those with no recourse. He was contributing to the realistic exposure of unnecessary atrocities. Much like the USA's animosity towards the war in Vietnam was beget through media such as photographs, a famous mention being Nick Út's picture of a naked 10 year old Vietnamese girl, running and screaming as she pulls the burning clothes off her skin as her village was napalmed. Kevin

Carter wanted to transpire the same effect to the world. And it worked.

Whilst in Sudan, in 1993, Kevin took a photograph that shook the world. A starved whimpering girl was resting, after she had crawled her way nearer to a UN food camp, with a vulture in the background, waiting for the girl to die. Kevin was to win the Pulitzer Prize for this photograph; the image is speculated to have thrown him into deep depression. He gained fame from this one terrifying photo. His fame was short-lived, barely two months later he committed suicide, citing in his note that he was miserable by seeing corpses and murders and just wanted to join Ken. I was deeply moved by that excerpt. It was within this excerpt and this timeless moment caught on camera and the obscurity of his death that I no longer felt empty. Humans are a collective species; an individual's pain can pain the other.

My outlook on life drastically changed. One does not live for oneself. We cannot be greedy as human beings; we have to help one another. The pain brought out by the photo was necessary to me. Pain is what we have to feel, we can't simply ignore it. Helping ease others' pain, we find empathy we never thought we had. We fill empty voids, as I had. This basic fundamental catharsis has manifested itself in great thinkers of philosophy, such as Mahatma Ghandi.

And, thus, my magnanimous nature was born: I started donating money to JAM, a local charity organisation that helps the impoverished, however aiding financially simply isn't enough. I need to immerse myself voluntarily in liberating the everyday existence of the poverty that seems to kill so callously. It's my intention to go to Sudan after I graduate from high school. If I showed these people who have absolutely nothing; these people who think that waking up every day is a miracle that I care; that not everybody is greedy or selfish, and that they have a future, I would make a positive difference in not only my life but others as well.

Africa is humanities' unconquered final frontier; the Millennium Development Goals set out by the UN have halved the poverty in Asia since its birth, yet progress in Africa has stagnated to the point of decline. It is with this hope that I want to be part of and help organisations such as MDG, UNICEF and WHO with the economics degree I gain. It is my ambition to support such benevolent organisations with the extensive knowledge I would gain from a higher learning. My ambition is to help them make informed decisions in which their daily needs and requirements is not merely their next meal or fresh water but rather a sense of personal fulfilment and a greater standard of living and thus a need for life as opposed simple existence. With the right microeconomic and macroeconomic policies, millions can be lifted from grinding poverty to the middle class within a decade. I hope the extensive progress made by development can arouse interest in others to join in and help in ending humanities' pain.

Kevin's selfless act had showed me my motto: What's life to live if you don't live for others?
________

Since I'm applying to American Unis (I'm from South Africa), will mentioning Vietnam be a downer?
Other than that, please be harsh as possible, but also constructive ;)
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Sep 29, 2010   #2
This is great writing. Take notice, and hone your skill!
I'll try to find little ways to improve it...

Might be better with this semi-colon:
But people are animals, selfish by nature; what was I to do?

Helping ease others ' pain, we grow as a person and find empathy we never thought we had.

It's my intention to go to Sudan after I graduate from high school. in order to help these people . If I showed these people who have absolutely nothing, these people who think that waking up every day is a miracle that I care, that not everybody is greedy or selfish, and that they have a future, I would make a positive difference in not only my life, but others' as well.

I added an apostrophe.. but actually, I think this last part will be better without that:

It's my intention to go to Sudan after I graduate. I can show these people who have absolutely nothing, these people who think that waking up every day is a miracle that I care, that not everybody is greedy or selfish, and that they have a future.
OP boramk 1 / 3  
Oct 1, 2010   #3
Thanks, will post update soon...

Anyone else?
donrocks 5 / 120  
Oct 1, 2010   #4
But people are animals, selfish by nature, what was I to do?

A very poor line. It shows you have no respect for animals. Animals never kill without reason and always respect others territory. Just because they cannot speak...they become selfish...???

Otherwise, the essay is very good and systematic. There is a personal touch which gives it a nice touch. Just that one line shows you are insensitive towards other creatures so edit it.
ams1121 3 / 6  
Oct 1, 2010   #5
Wow you are a really good writer. I commend you for this excellent essay. i would even keep the bit about the animals I don't think it should create too much controversy...and who said controversy is bad ;)
OP boramk 1 / 3  
Oct 25, 2010   #6
Well, that's that. And I kept the animals part, its there for effect :)


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