light, dark and the difficulty of discerning

Honesty, aged 14, with her little girl.

“I believe that we are put here in human form to decipher the hieroglyphs of love and suffering. And, there is no degree of love or intensity of feeling that does not bring with it the possibility of a crippling hurt. But, it is a duty to take that risk and love without reserve or defense.”
– Allen Ginsberg

(thanks to whiskeyriver)


  1. Allen

    March 2, 2009 at 3:11 am

    Me thinks you’re trying to cover too much territory in this blog. Last time I shall visit.

    I think the black bastard who left this child without father should be castrated, And then —

    Anyways your site used to be damned nice until you tried to save the world ….

    Also, the thought of a man to man or woman to woman marrying is absolute stupidity.

  2. Brian

    March 2, 2009 at 5:12 am

    Please don’t breed. There’s enough ignorance, hatred, and negativity in the world already.
    Alistair is a kind, loving person and obviously you’re not.
    Peace B

  3. Colin

    March 2, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Compassion is the only acceptable response to Allens message, looked at within the ambit of his support structure that is the source of his opinions, and its moribund moral code he deserves only our kindness and tolerance. The things that most heterosexuals have believed to be an upright moral example are coming apart under examination, and the hatemongering of the Christian Right has served to undermine the core premise that supported this prejudice – moral rectitude. As the moral climate changes I think we are going to have to show a considerable amount of grace for Heterosexuals, who as they more and more realize that they are trapped in a cage by the sophism of arguments against same sex marriage and try to realign their moral compass with little guidance for conventional role models. Slavery was considered morally acceptable two hundred years ago, and no case and be made for this error in judgment, it is very difficult for people to admit they are wrong, but Allen you are wrong! “If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion.” Noam Chomsky… – but what you can’t do is change the truth.

  4. Mickey

    March 2, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    I think the point is that Allan has demonstrated the limits
    of his own horizons on many fronts. The criticism of this
    blog as trying to cover too many topics means that he has
    failed to understand that this is a place, it seems to me,
    for Alistair to share some of the elements of what it is to
    be a whole and often conflicted or contradictory human; to
    share what can be shared.

    The regurgitation of the moralising on same-sex marriage is
    another idicator that Allan has not given himself the time
    to fully appreciate how we work as humans and perhaps could
    do with referring back to some 1700 year old philosophy:

    “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain
    an idea without accepting it.” – Aristotle.

    I think it is commendable that Allan has grasped the
    democratic nature of blogs in that he has voted with his
    feet… If he has grasped the basics then there is hope he
    might extend his understanding to a democratic approach to
    other topics.
    Alistair… keep chipping away.
    Mickey x

  5. Andrea

    March 2, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    This photo and caption is confising. Obviously she is a child who has had a baby. What were you trying to show the world? That 14 year olds make lousy decisions? That she loves her child?That you do not make any mention of the father is odd. As in all of history men walk away from pregnant women when they choose. in this case a man or boy walked away from this girl. You gave a credit to Whisky River…but did you try to help this girl? If not you have just image and her person for used her image for your blog. Not what I expect from you. I would like you to respond to this. It is true that we cannot save the world, but it is also trues that we should not take pretty pictures of poor people, put a caption on it and seem smug. This is how it came across this way to me.

    1. alistair

      March 4, 2009 at 9:56 am

      Oh yes – Honesty was one of the many children that are being helped at the Chiedza Childrens Centre. I spent some time helping there while I was in Zimbabwe and you can help too – take a look at their website: Please be generous because it’s the most amazing charitable organisation. Intelligent and well-run in a very disastrous situation. 10% of Zimbabwe’s entire population are orphaned children. A whole generation of mothers and fathers have been wiped out by AIDS. Which means that most children are looked after by their grandparents. Honesty is fortunate to have her mother still around – infact she’s a co-ordinator of the Carers Support Network at Chiedza – and to be going every afternoon to the Centre where children are given a meal, adminstered their ARVs if necessary, given lessons (since all the schools have closed down or charge children extortionate fees) and allowed to play. I’ll post some more photos of my visit to Chiedza shortly.
      It’s fascinating, however, to read people’s reaction to this lovely photo. Honesty and her child were both healthy and happy. The 14-year father was also around and involved in their life. It’s interesting how we can project stuff onto simple images.

  6. lori

    March 3, 2009 at 3:23 am

    And the relevance of the bickering to this photo is..?

  7. Gino

    March 3, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    How to get a mixed reaction – create confusion with a powerful saying and equally as powerful photo. If anything, it’s thought provoking…

  8. Valerie W

    March 4, 2009 at 12:08 am

    A beautiful young woman with a beautiful baby.
    No matter how she came about, that child deserves the
    best the world has to offer her.

  9. Jeff

    March 4, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    That’s a lovely hieroglyph sitting in a chair. I look forward to seeing more photos from your trip. The daughter of our best friends just returned from Zimbabwe also.

  10. Mickey

    March 4, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    I think the photo is excellent by the way and wish I’d had
    the presence of mind to compliment it in my earlier defence.
    I’m new to the site and am enjoying meandering through the
    photos, essays and quotes. I think the responses are a
    great snapshot of how “art” affects the individual.

    Mickey x x

  11. Yamuna Batagollagedara

    March 7, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    I’am new to this site and I like some photographs.
    And most amazing thing is Holy Island story. I wish
    to go there. I am Buddhist by birth. I was Born in
    Sri Lanka. My Buddhism is Theravada Tradition.
    Most of the time I visit Amaravathi Temple in Hertfordshire
    But dalaiLama’s Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism are
    too different.
    I started to do meditation when I was 9 years old.
    At the begining I started from Loving kindness (Maithree)
    When I become 15 or 16 years old I tried to do
    Anapanasathi Meditation (Breathing).
    I hope to go to Holy Island in the near future.
    Thank you very much for sharing those informations.

    English is not my first language.
    Sorry for the grammer mistakes.


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