Sunday, December 21, 2008

A glimpse of how hell could look

Since 2000, UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) has presented awards for photographs of children that illustrate their living conditions from different parts of the world. This year’s winner is Alice Smeets of Belgium for her photograph of a girl walking barefoot through the mud and rubbish with CitĂ© Soleil , the largest slum of Port-au-Prince, Haiti in the background. Pigs graze on the garbage. The clear blue sky is reflected on the filthy water. The girl is wearing a clean white dress. No one knows her name.

This description from UNICEF:
Justify Full
For five hundred years misfortune and terror have reigned in Haiti. First it was colonialism and slavery, then came the dictators. After that followed chronic political instability and hurricanes. And throughout all that: hardship, distrust, treachery, poverty, dirt, destruction, illness, tyranny, oppression, persecution, death.

People live unprotected in stinking and burning waste, without work, without reliable sources of energy, without drinkable water, without clean air to breath, without money for their next meal. In the hovels the poorest of the poor resort to eating dirt simply to fill their stomachs. In a setting like this, a little girl in a white dress seems to be a frightened angel that finds itself in the underworld and nevertheless determined to fight for a little bit of beauty.

This glimpse of how hell could look, overwhelmed the young Belgian photographer, Alice Smeets, on her first trip to Haiti….
Let’s not forget this little girl and other like her around the world.

You can see the the other entries here.

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