You see a tragedy. You see someone’s laughter. You see just another person doing normal human stuff.
Linda Ikeji sees a story. Linda Ikeji sees traffic. Linda Ikeji sees money.
It is the same as when your body routinely responds to stuff without your actually thinking it. This is the Linda Ikeji way, the way of many of us.
Remember that photo from South Sudan of a vulture waiting for a little girl to die, so he can eat her?
This iconic photo was shot by Kevin Carter, a South African photojournalist.
So here’s Kevin. He hears the whimpering of a child and follows the sound. He sees the girl and knows its going to be a great photo. He just knows. But there’s one problem here; his conscience.
He sees the suffering before him, but then he sees an opportunity too. So after waiting 20 minutes for the vulture to fly away, fighting his conscience, he takes the shot. Then chases the vulture.
That photo showed us an important window into the South Sudan crisis at the time. That photo also won a Pullitzer Prize.
Three months later, Carter killed himself. Part of his suicide note read;
I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain … of starving or wounded children.
So while it must have been an important photo, Kevin Carter had one important thing pricking his conscience. He felt like the second vulture in the photo, preying on the girl’s misery.
But maybe, just maybe, that is all of us.
Would that politician have attended that protest if the image of him being on the side of the people didn’t make him look good?
Will it still feel like philanthropy if no one ever found out about it?
Do you remember the deceased so passionately that at the memorial walk, you sell T-shirts with their face plastered on it? Or are you doing just that, selling shirts?
Would you write that post or that tweet if you knew no single person would be interested?
Would your company lend a helping hand to the person in need, if you were not going to share a video of “the journey and behind-the-scenes” on Youtube?
If you stood where Kevin Carter was standing, would you help the child first, or take that brilliant, iconic shot? Would you be haunted after, or just go about your normal life?
Are you truly selfless?
But who said people’s private intentions were our business anyway? We just need to focus on the consequences of our actions and whether they are generally accepted as good or not, right? Right?
Have a nice day.