Famine, Ethics, or Aesthetics
When viewing Images of starving children, I am reminded of the Image of the starving Biafran albino boy that was used at the time to try and generate some response from the west. (Don Mccullin 1969) At the time the Biafra crises were going on I was only very young, but I do remember the Images being shown the news. At the time and until recently I thought it was probably the fault of the governments and tribes in what is now Nigeria. I have since learned that the UK government was part of the problem by providing Arms to the faction that they thought would protect there Oil interest in the country, and probably promoted the fighting as early as 1967 causing the deaths of Millions of children. All the government documents failed to mention the plight of the starving civilians until Don McCullin and others went and documented there plight. Whether you feel that the shock tactic in showing these Images was justified or not? The fact of the matter is that without that shock more children would have starved to death, while the UK government sent Arms to try to protect their OIL interest in the Country. In these circumstances, I think it is justified to put ethics to one side in the interest of saving children’s lives. It is a shame that the UK government didn’t show some ethics at the time.
Above (Don McCullin, Albino Boy Biafra1969)
Medecins Sans Frontieres
The Charity invites you to donate on a monthly basis and send you updates in the form of pamphlets to let you know how your money is being spent. In the brochures are Image and storeys of some of the people that are being or have been helped. The images I have seen in the pamphlets are of the people that are being supported at the time and pictures of people in recovery from the bombings In the Syrian war. This is, of course, to show you that your money does and is helping, and along with the Image there is the story that is about the people in it. This is an excellent tactic and allows the viewer to engage with the story and feel involved in the process of helping. Most of the Images show Men Women and Children receiving medical treatment from the Medical volunteer staff. The children are not seen as starving but just in need of help in some way.
Below((https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=MSF+Charity+Images (Acssed 23/08/18))
Charity leaders concluded that the portray of starving children has numbed the visual senses and made people think that the whole of Africa is, in general, a hopeless place full of impoverished people, The leaders of some of the African country’s have shown themselves to be corrupt. creating that hopeless impression of Africa as a whole without really thinking that Africa is a vast continent of 57 Country and over 900 Million people.
((www.google.co.uk/search?q=images 9(Accessed 23/08/18))
Oxfam no longer uses Images of starving children, stopping the practice in the1980’s.
(www.google.co.uk/search?q=oxfam( accessed 23/08/18))
As for ethics, I think it is a case of needs must. If the Images is needed for a good and just reason uses the Images. Then the question is asked could the message have been sent another way? These questions will and should always be asked. The debate will continue. During 1985 Live aid Charity images provoked a wave of goodwill, and millions of pounds were raised to help the people of Ethiopia. There have been some disputed reports that some of the money was misused to supply arms for rebel fighters, most of the money if not all went to the people that needed it. Without the Images of the starving children the response from ordinary people would have been reduced, So if the argument is we are desensitising the public with the images of starving children why did live aid raise so much money? Was it just because it involved famous pop singers.