I don’t know who Kim Kardashian is, other than a famous person. However, I am intrigued by the outcry over the waste of her ten million dollar wedding, which now, apparently, after a short period of time has led to a divorce). I wholeheartedly agree with the general sentiment—everyone should take note of Nicholas Kristof’s tweets: e.g. “Kim Kardashian cld have spent her wedding money instead building 200 schools in poor countries. That wld have lasted.”—but I find it very curious that people are only outraged because Kardashian’s marriage ended in divorce. I argue that, regardless of the outcome of the marriage, spending ten million dollars on a wedding is a terrible atrocity against humanity.
“I find something noble and courageous in Japan’s resilience and perseverance, and it will be on display in the coming days. This will also be a time when the tight knit of Japan’s social fabric, its toughness and resilience, shine through. And my hunch is that the Japanese will, by and large, work together — something of a contrast to the polarization and bickering and dog-eat-dog model of politics now on display from Wisconsin to Washington. ”—Nicholas Kristof, “Sympathy for Japan, and Admiration”
“By United Nations estimates, 215 million women worldwide have an “unmet need” for family planning, meaning they don’t want to become pregnant but are not using effective contraception. The Guttmacher Institute, a widely respected research organization, estimates that if all the unmet need for contraception were met, the result would be 94,000 fewer women dying of pregnancy complications each year, and almost 25 million fewer abortions each year. ”—“Mothers We Could Save” by Nicholas Kristof. Which you should read all of.
“In 1970, in New York City, a newly minted teacher at a public school earned about $2,000 less in salary than a starting lawyer at a prominent law firm. These days the lawyer takes home, including bonus, $115,000 more than the teacher, the McKinsey study found. We all understand intuitively the difference a great teacher makes. I think of Juanita Trantina, who left my fifth-grade class intoxicated with excitement for learning and fascinated by the current events she spoke about. You probably have a Miss Trantina in your own past.”—Pay Teachers More | Nicholas Kristof, NY Times
“Gender violence is one of the world’s most common human rights abuses. Women worldwide ages 15 through 44 are more likely to die or be maimed because of male violence than because of cancer, malaria, war and traffic accidents combined. The World Health Organization has found that domestic and sexual violence affects 30 to 60 percent of women in most countries.”—
-Nicholas Kristof,Is Delhi So Different From Steubenville?
in the New York Times
“One of the biggest complaints readers have about my work is that I don't tell them often enough what they can do. I do think this is an area where journalism sometimes falls short. We describe a really grim situation but don't really explain to people what they can do about it. So, a few years ago I started doing a year-end list of amazing charities. The first time, I had real anxiety about whether it was appropriate. But the response was so overwhelming, it seemed to be a real service to readers and I've continued to do it. It also happens when I'm not especially encouraging people to give. For instance, a few months ago I profiled a group called Room to Read and I later learned they raised $700,000 as a result of people hearing about them from my column.”—New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof in an interview with Fast Company. Journalism In A Digital World And The Age Of Activism.
“President Obama, you harshly criticized President Bush for failing to stand up to Sudan’s slaughter in Darfur. So now what are you going to do as Sudan kills again — on your watch? ”—In “Starving its own children” NYTimes’ Nicholas Kristof challenges President Obama to grow a pair.
“Living under Communism in China made me a fervent enthusiast of capitalism. I believe that over the last couple of centuries banks have enormously raised living standards in the West by allocating capital to more efficient uses. But anyone who believes in markets should be outraged that banks rig the system so that they enjoy profits in good years and bailouts in bad years. The banks have gotten away with privatizing profits and socializing risks, and that’s just another form of bank robbery.”—
Nicholas Kristof, “America’s Primal Scream”
Kristof hits the mark in this column. In light of the mass arrests across the nation, let’s remember how this has grown since its beginning on September 17th. The Occupy movement has gone global in about a month.
September 17th was the beginning. October 15th is not an ending. It marks the commencement of occupying everywhere.
My mind! My mind. So I went to the Nicholas Kristof talk and I was so weak by the end of it. WOW. Chale this world. A month ago I wrote about a post called small world, big problems, about how poverty and genocide related problems are bigger than they seem for individual people. The stories this man told us today. This world, this world.
How many people have ever seen a mosquito net advert and underestimated the effects of mosquito nets in saving people’s lives? He’s talked to a woman in Cambodia who could afford just ONE net, which could cover 3 of her 4 children. And each night she had to deliberately cover just 3 of them, and lie with the last one outside the net, praying to God that he/she wouldn’t get malaria, because if she can’t afford an extra net, how on earth is she going to afford medicine.
How many people have heard things on the news about human trafficking and found it difficult to imagine children and human beings being sold in this day? He has pretended to be a pimp and BOUGHT two girls for 350 dollars and was given a receipt. HOW?? How are living in the 21st century and giving written receipts for human beings. Ei! He spoke of an oasis in the desert in Sudan, where under each tree there was one family. He moved from tree to tree interviewing families and it’s terrible what qualifies as a “family” here. A man who has carried his brother for 49 days across the desert in search of an oasis, because his brother has been shot in the neck, and has kept him alive for 49 days in the desert. A 5-year old taking care of their 2 year old sibling because everyone else has been killed. People who have seen their children killed TO BE THROWN IN A WELL TO POISON IT so no one else can have access to clean water. This world.
I reblogged Deborah’s post today about how people are bothered about whose bag is expensive and whose shoes were mined in diamond mines in South Africa and how it all doesn’t matter for shit. I’m not even going to pretend as if i’m not materialistic because I am and I am not suddenly going to start shopping for clothes at Walmart. But if you have the ability to care about such relatively UNIMPORTANT matters, you NEED to care about humanity. He said something that Zahra says often on her blog: It’s only by accident of birth that a lot of people are here thinking about real vs fake diamonds while others are “BEING THROWN INTO BONFIRES” because of the color of their skin. All from the same country. This very same world. And if you’re that lucky, it’s a responsibility to care about what other human beings are going through.
He spoke about how all evidence shows that the greatest escalator out of poverty is education. But everywhere in the world - developed and developing countries - the best education, best teachers, best facilities, go MAINLY to the people who don’t need to be escalated out of any poverty. It’s not necessarily their fault. But that’s how it is. What are we doing? He’s met a 12 year old girl in Vietnam, taking care of 3 younger siblings with no parents, going to school, but finding it hard to keep up even though she wakes up at 3 am every morning to do homework. He asked her what she wanted the most at that very moment in time. She said 5 dollars for extra tutoring to do better in school. One of the girls in Darfur he interviewed was 12 and told a story about how she allowed about 15 men to rape her in a row so that they wouldn’t find her little sister. Now she wants him to tell them what she did so they know she got one over them in a way. He asked her if she knew she was putting herself at risk of more danger. She said it was the only way she had to fight back. All she could do. What are we doing?
All the same, he also spoke about the progress that had been made in the world over years. In 1960, worldwide, 20 million children died before they reached the age of 5. With today’s population that should be 60 million children. But today only 8 million children die as infants. But you can’t really say ONLY 8 million children die, because 8 million is a huge number. But imagine how much progress we could make if EVERYBODY cared. Not everyone has to make a profession out of this, like he has. I don’t plan to. I’m still here working my ass of towards being successful in the freaking corporate world. But care, and do something, something, whatever you can, to help other human beings.
I’ll end with a Bill Gates quote I have blogged once before, but which is very relevant to this:
Judge yourselves, not on your professional accomplishments, but on what you have done to improve the lives of people a world away, with whom you share nothing but your humanity
A world away doesn’t have to be geographic. People who can’t find clean water to drink who live 3 minutes away from your house are a world away. Because they drink water from dirty streams, and you buy bottled water, then pour it out to fill it with cold water from a water fountain because the weather is too hot (this is me btw).
“Toxic stress might arise from parental abuse of alcohol or drugs. It could occur in a home where children are threatened and beaten. It might derive from chronic neglect — a child cries without being cuddled. Affection seems to defuse toxic stress — keep those hugs and lullabies coming! — suggesting that the stress emerges when a child senses persistent threats but no protector.”—A Poverty Solution That Starts With a Hug - NYTimes.com
“It’s a really hard time for newspapers of all kinds. This is the Voice‘s business model and I hate to undermine it. But for anybody who loves journalism: How can you fund that journalism with sex trafficking?”—
Nicholas Kristof, NY Times op-ed columnist.
Kristof recently published two columns (January 25 and March 17) criticizing online classifieds, especially Backpage.com, for their adult services section as a vehicle for pimps trying to sell girls. Backpage.com is owned by Village Voice Media, and in line with past criticism against sex ads on Backpage.com, Village Voice responded with criticism of Kristof’s fact-checking. In reality, can they afford to eliminate these Backpage.com ads?
Backpage.com rakes in $22 M. annually from prostitution advertising, according to media analysts at AIM. Backpage.com reportedly accounts for one-seventh of VVM’s revenue overall.
(full story via The New York Observer)
The paradox in this story is what Village Voice actually stands for. Kristof writes:
Village Voice began as an alternative newspaper to speak truth to power. It publishes some superb journalism. So it’s sad to see it accept business from pimps in the greediest and most depraved kind of exploitation.
His columns are a call to action:
True, many prostitution ads on Backpage are placed by adult women acting on their own without coercion; they’re not my concern. Other ads are placed by pimps: the Brooklyn district attorney’s office says that the great majority of the sex trafficking cases it prosecutes involve girls marketed on Backpage.
There are no simple solutions to end sex trafficking, but it would help to have public pressure on Village Voice Media to stop carrying prostitution advertising. The Film Forum has already announced that it will stop buying ads in The Village Voice. About 100 advertisers have dropped Rush Limbaugh’s radio show because of his demeaning remarks about women. Isn’t it infinitely more insulting to provide a forum for the sale of women and girls?