Ethics of Dignity

By Maira Hernandez
“Many said this image violated the dignity of this girl”

I came upon this photograph years ago, when I had just started my undergrad I believe, and it made me wonder where the line is drawn.  How could the photographer not help her? Then I learned he had committed suicide, and I wouldn’t have wanted to be in his shoes either.  I was upset he had won a Pulitzer even though he hadn’t helped the little girl.  Then again, I guess he felt the same way.  

Many people expressed their indignation about this photograph citing the ethics of journalism.  Many said this image violated the dignity of this little girl.  However, I don’t think the picture violated the rights or dignity of the little girl anymore than they had already been violated by the rest of the world by letting her get to that condition.  That picture speaks tons of what governments and international NGOs are and aren’t doing.  It speaks of how we put political interests over the welfare of fellow human beings… It is indeed a powerful image.

How easy it is for us to sit and judge others from the comfort  our homes.  Judging is so much easier than getting off our butts and actually doing something.  Nothing of moral or social worth has ever been accomplished by judging.

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