I like those who do good for good’s sake.
I am troubled by those who do good work for an agenda’s sake and the sought after conversion of the vulnerable. When people are down and out, Faith-based charities move in to help and proselytize the needy.
Missionaries do aid the needy, but they also have an agenda.
For example, read what a popular redbubble.com missionary had to say about the recovery of a sick African girl:
“…five days later and God completely healed her. Now as you see, Susan is completely healed”
One can then look at their photo as evidence of this “miracle.”
Show me a ‘miracle’ story, and I will show you one hundred hungry mouths.
Many people in the cyber community are online because they can afford to be. They have money and are not hungry. Some people in this community, however, live overseas amongst the impoverished. These few see many eye-opening events, and, as photographers, tell stories using pictures. Hopefully they provide audiences with a sense of awe or wonderment with beautiful faces, poverty, cultural differences, and empathetic human emotion. However, to simply say God is taking care of it — is ignorant and naïve. I see this as a form of cultural imperialism, and it is simply not fair.
According to the BBC (Oct. 14, 2009) UN food agencies announced that global hunger is at an all-time high. Approximately one billion people are clinging to life while “god sits in the wings.” Just last year, a medically fragile eleven-year old child named Madeline Kara Neumann died because her parents prayed instead of seeking medical care. God did not provide the answers or save this little girl, and the same goes for missionary work. The missionary who comes from a fortunate nation and gives the famished food, water, shelter, love is doing the saving not God.
I do have hope and think our world is beautiful. Photography is a wonderful art which allows me to capture this beauty. That is why I get so aggravated when I see people using it to evangelize. Do these pictures do anything to help the subjects, or simply elicit donations to support the mission?
Do good for goodness sake.
Look into the eyes of a hungry child. Isn’t that enough?