Dear Leagan – By reading your comment below, it is apparent to me that you don’t know me and I will take the blame for that. Contrary to your comment, I want you to know that I do care about what goes on in this country and more than you can imagine. Maybe I don’t wear it on my sleeve, but I sure do care. I also want to explain my coverage and even my history so that maybe you will have a better sense of me.
Yes, I put the spotlight on the people in the Nuba Mountains and I do so for a few reasons. First, no one else (besides Ann Curry) is. I understand why others are not. It is very hard to get there (and expensive) and frankly there are lots of others stories to cover around the world and at home and they are doing those. There is no shortage of stories we should all be covering.
For me, covering the humanitarian crisis in the Nuba Mountains is frustrating and I often feel like I am just banging my head against a wall and not accomplishing anything for the people – even though I desperately want to. It is hard to draw international attention to this crisis so others in the business may think it not worthy to pour their heart and soul into it and that it is better to focus on other world and domestic problems. I understand that viewpoint.
Someone has to put the spotlight on this humanitarian crisis and I can… so I do. I know you would too, if you could. Anyone would help who could. It is so awful that no one who has seen it can look the other way.
As you know from reading GretaWire, I saw defenseless people getting bombed by their own President..their homes and villages burned….I saw children on the edge of death from malnutrition….kids hoping (yes, hoping!) to find bugs or leaves to eat to stop the gripping pain of starvation but even bugs and leaves are not plentiful in that climate…..women telling stories of being raped by President Bashir’s soldiers…I talked to people hiding in caves from their President…I saw thousands and thousands walking shoeless on very rough terrain in 110 degree weather with no water. I could go on and on about the horrors I saw people experiencing. And what do I know from seeing those horrors and reading your comment below? I know you have a big heart and I know that you would help if you could.
I put the spotlight on the Nuba Mountains because I can. Going there is very expensive and if you noticed, I used my weekend and vacation to do it. I tell you not to boast but as evidence of how important it is to me. My guess is that you would have done the same if you had the chance. I am lucky to have a friend like Reverend Franklin Graham to show me places like the refugee camps so that I can then do what I can with GretaWire to help. I went there for several days with no sleep, rough conditions, and with my cameras hoping to be able to return to tell you. But as rough as the conditions were, I always knew I would be going home and I sure was not starving or dying of dehydration. What was bad was that I knew what was in store for the people I left behind in the Nuba Mountains.
Having GretaWire to tell you about the people of the Nuba Mountain (or other places) is a luxury — I have an outlet for the story so you can hear about it. I can start a dialogue here with you and with others. I can’t solve the problems. I wish I could. At best I can get us all talking about it and maybe have a small impact on getting others to learn about it and maybe get help from those who might be in a position to do more.
But, just because I care about the people in the Nuba Mountains and blog about them here does not mean I don’t care about what goes on in this country. If you check my history, you will see I have years and years of helping the poor. Frankly, I have more years on the street helping poor people that President Obama who was a community activist. I worked 24 / 7 for poor people. I spent many holidays as a young lawyer helping homeless people get out of jail and then escorted them to a shelter. I did it because I wanted to do it. I enjoyed trying to help. I also know others do it too because they enjoy it and I know that still others would love the luxury of being able to help. I don’t tell you about my history to boast – but rather for you to understand me better.
And now? You are right. I can’t do every story as you suggest in your comment below, and I wish I could. I would love to do every important story. It is not fun to exclude important stories and it is not fun knowing that so many need help. Your comment below is painful — not because you criticize me — but because I am reminded of so many people I would like to help but can’t.
You should know, we at ON THE RECORD at 10pm try to help in different ways. With my very hard working colleagues at ON THE RECORD at 10pm, for instance, we have put the spotlight night after night on big issues that we think are important to make it better for Americans. For instance, we have spent a lot of air time covering the enormous amount of government waste. We have pounded and pounded and pounded that story. Why? Because every dollar wasted is taken away from important projects, including supporting our troops, feeding people, humanitarian aid, bridges and roads etc. We hope that this spotlight helps — perhaps encourages our government to use the money wisely (not for some stupid party in Vegas or other.)
I hope my note to you gives you a tad bit better understanding of me. I am certainly not perfect and you can fairly criticize me for that and much more, but do no criticize me for not caring. I really do care about people even if it is somehow not communicated.
And do want to know something? I can tell by YOUR comment that you, too care. You have another cause that has grabbed your heart. I admire you for caring. You are giving me some grief in your comment below because you have something you really care about. I get it. I know exactly how you feel.
The good news? There are so many people out there with big hearts trying to address so much hardship.
And please accept my apology for one more time slipping in a picture from my trip to Sudan / Nuba Mountains. I figure since I mentioned it, it is fair game to remind all of us once again. This child was dying of malnutrition and surely is dead by now. I know your heart is heavy as mine is.