Haiku: Where Is Our Humanity?

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” Mahatma Gandhi

Haiku: Where Is Our Humanity? - Collage of Refugees worldwide

Haiku: Where Is Our Humanity? – Collage of Refugees worldwide

We sit, stare, at horror shows…
Lives maimed, wasted, at war zones
Children blown apart…

A day of bloodshed
Planes falling from “friendly” skies.
Human carnage, grows…

A night of anguish
Mothers hold dying loved ones.
Mourning engulfs us …

Faces of conflict
Refugees from everywhere
Exits blur entries…

We watch, in silence
Where is our humanity?
Mothers, babies, killed…

Leo Tolstoy said, “The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.”Are we doing a good job serving humanity? Like many of you, I feel equally challenged by the horrific events happening around the world. War, epidemics, hunger, loss of life, poverty, refugee populations growing every day.  I don’t want to lose faith in humanity, but how do we ever justify the death of innocent people? How do we ever explain the “rationale” for shooting down commercial airlines? How do we explain the endless conflicts and wars to our children?

Each day I see a news report of another life lost, another child hurt, another futile battle fought, another senseless act of wickedness inflicted on humanity, I feel the pain of loved ones and cry along with them. We can choose to pretend it’s happening elsewhere, but it’s happening everywhere and our silence won’t make the atrocities go away. Where is our humanity? When did our beautiful earth turn so ugly?
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Reflections: World Humanitarian Day

“The moral authority of the United Nations depends on its ability to help people most in need and it must do so with the highest ethical standards and professionalism.” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Council of Foreign Relations, New York, May 2006

Reflections: World Humanitarian Day, August 19th

Reflections: World Humanitarian Day, August 19th – Honor Each Other


World Humanitarian Day 2014 Message

Today is World Humanitarian Day and it is particularly poignant because another brave soul, James Wright Foley, a photojournalist who dedicated his life to bringing photos and news to the rest of us from war torn zones, was brutally executed today. My condolences go out to his loved ones… RIP James. Where is our humanity? What must we do to find common ground and respect for each other on this planet?  Are you familiar with this important day? Do you know what it is all about? I’ll shed some light and, hopefully, you will join me and many other Messengers Of Humanity to remind us all to give compassion, care and consideration a chance in our interactions with each other; it is imperative for the survival of our planet.

“Since I am still strong enough to produce and work harder to support others, I think I have to use my energy for that until I get old.” Jack Kahorha (Aid Worker)

Reflections: World Humanitarian Day, August 19th - Help Each Other

Reflections: World Humanitarian Day, August 19th – Help Each Other


World Humanitarian Day 2014 trailer: Voices from the Field

What Is World Humanitarian Day? “It’s a day to commemorate all people who have lost their lives in humanitarian service and to celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian work around the world.” WorldHumanitarianDay.org

World Humanitarian Day came about because of another inhumane attack that occurred on 19 August, 2003. On that terrible day, 22 aid workers were killed in a bomb attack at the UN headquarters in Baghdad. So many families lost loved ones that day and, sadly, many more aid workers have perished in conflict ridden countries across the globe. We honor them all for bravely serving others under perilous conditions. Today, and on every August 19th, we pause …” to commemorate all people who have lost their lives in humanitarian service and to celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian work around the world.”

This year, several aid workers/humanitarian heroes are being honored for their tireless service. In addition to our journalists, servicemen/women, aid workers and a long list of others, I will add healthcare workers and Doctors Without Borders. Why? Because they often go against the natural human inclination to flee life threatening diseases and conditions to serve others in need. Who would you add to this list?  What does being a humanitarian mean to you?

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Weekly Photo Challenge: In Silhouette

“The dark-veiled silhouette; that solitary form patrolling without visible strain or vainglory, a demented dreamland of fearful potential.” Kathryn Hulme
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Weekly Photo Challenge: In Silhouette

Weekly Photo Challenge: In Silhouette – Nature, a Church and Sade

Weekly Photo Challenge: In Silhouette

Weekly Photo Challenge: In Silhouette – More nature by the Hudson River and a Church in France.

A Silhouette can be described as an “image of a person, animal, object or scene represented as a solid shape of a single color, usually black, its edges matching the outline of the subject… typically presented on a light background … or none at all.” I’ve always found them fascinating to look at even though, and I’ve shared some of these in another Silhouette post,  I rarely think of using the technique when I take pictures. I’m not sure why, but I will pay more attention. How about you? Do you look for silhouette moments?

The word has an interesting history and is taken from the last name of Étienne de Silhouette. Étienne was a Minister of Finance in France in the 18th century. Because of an economic downturn during that period, he had to impose severe taxes on the wealthy, people looked for cheap ways to do things and his name was co-opted to represent anything made quickly and cheaply. To make sense of the term, we can look to the fact that cut paper silhouettes were the first way of capturing figures in early photographic portraits and forms.

“Rocks were not simply decorative silhouettes. They were part of the earth’s bones, with an anatomy of their own, caused by some remote seismic upheaval.” Kenneth Clark

Weekly Photo Challenge: In Silhouette

Weekly Photo Challenge: In Silhouette – This collage of human and structure silhouettes is from Wikipedia. The rest are mine.

There is also evidence that silhouettes were used in Ancient Egypt and Greece to create art forms; mainly in creating portraits of the human shadow… and perhaps shadows in nature. Over the years, they continued to gain popularity in traditional portraiture, Art illustrations, early theater and Movies, graphic design, sports shooting, and photography; they remain a popular technique in photography. The term is often used in the fashion Industry to express the form and fit of a designer’s vision.

As I sifted through my photo collections to find images that might fit this challenge, I was reminded of a cameo brooch my mom had when I was little. It was a black silhouette portrait of a woman from the chest up set against a pink background. They were very popular at one time and probably served as my earliest understanding of what a silhouette looked like. Another was catching a glimpse of my shadow at dusk and, of course, cutting those paper dolls and forms in kindergarten. Do you remember your first memory of a silhouette? Or the first time you caught a glimpse of your shadow in the setting sun?

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