Kevin Carter
Manic Street Preachers
Everything Must Go, 1996
Lyrics; Nicky Wire / Music; James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore

Born in 1960, Kevin Carter was an award winning South African photojournalist. He began his career photographing scenes of the violent struggle against Apartheid in South Africa. However, it was a 1993 picture of a famine victim in Sudan that would change his life forever.

"He heard a soft, high-pitched whimpering and saw a tiny girl trying to make her way to the feeding center. As he crouched to photograph her, a vulture landed in view. Careful not to disturb the bird, he positioned himself for the best possible image. He would later say he waited about 20 minutes, hoping the vulture would spread its wings. It did not, and after he took his photographs, he chased the bird away and watched as the little girl resumed her struggle."

This picture earned Carter the 1994 Pullitzer Prize for feature photography. "I swear I got the most applause of anybody," Carter wrote back to his parents in Johannesburg. "I can't wait to show you the trophy. It is the most precious thing, and the highest acknowledgment of my work I could receive." Carter's joy would not last.

Friends and colleagues would come to question why he had not done more to help the child in the photograph? "The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering," said the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times, "might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene."

Burdened with feelings of guilt and sadness, Kevin Carter took his own life On July 27, 1994. His suicide note stated in part, "...I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings & corpses & anger & pain . . . of starving or wounded children..."

Buffy St. Marie's anti-war anthem, "Universal Soldier" ( recorded and popularized in 1965 by Donovan ) also examines the timeless issues of human rights, social justice, and individual responsibility as they relate to violence, war, and suffering in our society.

In a 1998 interview singer/songwriter Donovan reflected on the song's meaning and the educational power of music, "...I realized that the problem of suffering was much deeper than governments and social problems. The problems were very deep. They were nothing short of changing the way we look at reality. Therefore I became a teacher, or a reflection of the teachings...The change was to be a spiritual change...We are one, we are all brothers and sisters, but the people of the world do not know this. So this was the teaching...You have to encourage a spiritual call, so we devoted ourselves to making songs which would have a spiritual call inside of them, hoping to awaken an awareness with this music..."

Reference(s):   Macleod, Scott, TIME "The Life and Death of Kevin Carter" September 12, 1994 Volume 144, No. 11
                       Donovan Interview. "We are all one shining Being" New Renaissance, Volume 7, Number 4. 1998.

Manic Street Preachers Music and Lyric Resources:

Black Garden: Manic Street Preachers

Manic Street Preachers / The Official Web Site

MANICS.NL The Annotated MSP
 

Referenced and Related Works:

Margaret Bourke-White quote and photographs

Pastor Martin Niemoller

Kevin Carter's Photograph

Dorothea Lange Quotes

Walt Whitman's "I Sit and Look Out"

Donovan's "Universal Soldier"

Time Magazine - "The Life and Death of Kevin Carter"

Legend of The Starfish

The Frontline Club  (external page)

The Rory Peck Trust  (external page)

Dan Eldon (external page)

Daniel Pearl Foundation (external page)

Daniel Pearl World Music Days (external page)

The Death of Kevin Carter (external page)

YouTube – “Kevin Carter” (external page)

YouTube – “A Tribute To Photographer Kevin Carter” (external page)

YouTube – “Universal Soldier” (external page)

YouTube – “Universal Soldier” (external page)

YouTube – “Universal Soldier” (external page)

 

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