Famine, Fame and Fatuousness

For reasons too convoluted to go into here, I watched Michael Buerk’s 1984 news report on the famine in Ethiopia this afternoon. It’s the report that resulted in Do They Know It’s Christmas? Live Aid and, I think, Comic Relief.
I wasn’t alone. There were five of us, from teens upwards. I hadn’t expected the teens to have seen it, but one adult who strayed in while we were watching and stopped transfixed. had never seen it either.

By the end of the report I was crying freely, the other adults were silent, the fifteen-year-old looked stunned. Even the thirteen-year-old who had been a bit surprised by our intense concentration and serious faces looked sombre.

I don’t know where the doctor from Médecins Sans Frontières is now, I don’t even remember her name. And it made me wonder yet again, how someone like Paris Hilton is famous simply for being rich, vacuous and pretty, when there are so many other unsung people we could know about.

Just in case you have never seen that report either, here’s a link:

Troy Davis Executed

“The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I’m in good spirits and I’m prayerful and at peace.” Troy Davis

I didn’t hear the news until mid-morning, and I was staggered to learn that this man had been executed, despite the doubts around his conviction.

Troy Davis’ last words were dignified and hopeful. That is more than can be said of the manner of his execution, or the authorities who sanctioned it.