What are You Looking At!

I just finished watching a documentary about some children in India who are raised in a brothel by parents and grand parents who are prostitutes, drug addicts, and pimps. Its shot from the perspective of a young woman Zana Briski who finds herself in the “red light district” of Calcutta trying to relate to the prostitutes, gaining some insight into their way of life and how they end up selling themselves for little to no money! But, she finds herself engulfed with love and care for their children. She came for the women, but she soon realized her true mission was to rescue their children. Her documentary is called Born Into Brothels and the children in the film became the first group known as Kids-with-Camera’s… you can check out all they are doing for the kids in the red light district of Calcutta and other parts of the world here…

One of the kids in the film is named Avijit. Because of Zana’s desire to get these kids interested and involved in things like art outside of the red light district Avijit gets invited to the World Press Photo Exhibition in Amsterdam, and at the exhibition he is with a special group of kids looking at photos while giving their insight into the meaning and depth of the shots. Avijit says something in the film while looking at some photos that not only showed his brilliance, but his sensitivity to the world surrounding him. They are looking at a nice shot of a young woman wrapped in clothes from head to toe standing outside of a house in the slums of some country in a far off place and he says, “This is a good picture… we get a good sense of how these people live, and though there is sadness in it, and though its hard to face, we must look at it because… It is truth!”

Wow, I loved this documentary, and I absolutely loved this statement! Remember, this came from the mouth of a 12 year-old boy that has been there and done that… he’s missing some of the innocence we desperately try to protect here in the US. I learned a lot from Avijit today!

This has major implications for you and me…

It begs the question, are there things happening around me I should notice, but I have my head buried in the sand? Are there things in this world, or maybe in my life that I’m more than willing to over-look, and hope to never notice again? Is never noticing even possible when you know its there, and you just choose to not look it in the “eye”?

I can’t help but wonder how many times I have chosen to not look at something in hopes I wouldn’t have to engage the situation and steer clear of the difficulty and inconvenience it may cause me!

What is it for you that you buried or turned your head to? Did you promise to never look again? We must heed Avijit’s words and realize that not looking is only avoiding… The Truth!

Change only comes when we are willing to face the truth, and have a vision for a better way… Then we must ask for the faith and strength to go after that better way of life!



-Some of the photos taken by the kids-


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