May 11, 2011
The Game is (still) not fair..
Taken in Karamoja district, Uganda in April 1980, by the photographer Mike Wells, the picture above shows the contrasting hands of a starving boy and a missionary spoke louder than any world leader and any news story about the famine in Uganda. Karamoja region has the driest climate in Uganda and was prone to droughts. The 1980 famine in there where 21% of the population (and 60% of the infants) died was one of the worst in history. The worst recorded famine was the great Finn famine (1696), which killed a third of the population.
The photographer, who would later win the World Press Photo Award for this photo, admitted that he was ashamed to take the photo. The same publication that sat on his picture for five months without publishing it entered it into a competition. He was embarrassed to win as he never entered the competition himself, and was against winning prizes with pictures of people starving to death.
Famine, drought and ethnic violence go on until nowdays in Karamoja. The Karamojong are a nomadic people, but since Idi Amin years in the 1970s, their nomadic patterns were curtailed due to the increase of cross border security, internal raids, and influx of weapons which enabled them to lead raids.
In 1982, Dead Kennedys used this photo as a front cover of their "Plastic Surgery Disasters" album.