Sometimes, we get so used to just living our lives, that we forget those extreme moments. The moments that tell us, “Hey, this is a world that means something. This is a world which we need to fight for.”
Sometimes, fighting sounds bad. But the truth is that fighting can be both external and internal. Fighting means doing everything you can. Doing everything you can to make the world a better place. And that’s all our jobs.
But sometimes we need to be reminded why. We also need to see the others that gave so much for us. We need to remember that some people don’t have it as good as us. It’s all important, because without it we’d just keep living for ourselves and not fighting to change things, to make the world a better place. Because the world is broken in so many ways, and it’s our job to fix it.
1. A Fireman Carries A Survivor Of A Train Crash
It happened only a few months ago. A train derailed in Spain. Not for any crazy reason. Instead the train conductor was just having fun going fast, and even bragged about it on Facebook. When he hit a turn, the train flew off the tracks and into a wall. Almost half of the 218 people in the train died. This incredible image of a fireman saving one of the survivors is such a powerful reminder of the fragility of life. And against the backdrop of a train destroyed because of hubris, the fireman reminds us that every moment is a decision between doing the right thing or the opposite.
2. Defying The Police With Only Bravery
Another photo from Spain, another hero. This man, Alberto Casillas, instantly became a national celebrity in Spain when he protected a group of youths who were protesting against the government’s austerity measures. The police were beating and attacking protestors who then ran into Casillas’s cafe for protection. When the police demanded he let them enter, he stood against them, with absolutely no weapons or way to defend himself and said, ”On my Life, you will not enter! It will be a massacre.” When the police stood down, the protestors started hugging and thanking him.
The best part of this story? Casillas actually supported the government the protesters were fighting against. But that didn’t matter to him. As he said, ”There were excessive police forces. I am for compliance with the law, but above the law, there is humanity. I did what I had to do, that’s all.” See a video of the exchange here.
3. A Rescued Son Reunited With His Father
There is an incredibly troubling growing trend happening in China. It’s called human trafficking, and it is particularly prevalent among children. Children are stolen from their families and put up for adoption. This image is of Wang Bangyin, a local farmer, who was reunited with his son after his son was saved from such a fate. Read this article on the subject, and be reminded how these shocking things can become so prevalent, and how important it is for us to cherish our children and realize just how special they are. That look on that father’s face, I can’t even imagine what he’s feeling.
4. Cradling His Own Grandfather
Taken from the book “Gramps” that details the final years of a coal miner, while his family cared for him, this photo shows such a beautiful, heartbreaking moment of fragility. A grandson looks into his grandfather’s eyes, a grandfather who did so much, but who was essentially helpless when the shot was taken. It’s so beautiful, and it may come as no surprise that shortly after the photograph, the grandfather passed. But it is a stark reminder of how important our family can be, and how caring for them can be the biggest fight worth fighting for. See the Reddit thread of this picture to see the stories of other people who went through similar experiences.
5. The Briefest Visit
Separated by war, these brothers, one living in South Korea, the other living in North Korea, had not seen each other since 1950. In 2010 they were allowed to visit each other for a total of three days. Three. Days. About 400 others also were allowed to experience reunions with their families. This image is of the separation of the brothers. One goes back to a home of luxury and freedom. The other to a world of oppression.
Until moments like this are a thing of the past, until three days of visitation is a thing of the past, and we can live in freedom… this is a world we need to keep fighting for. How heartbreaking.
6. Hands On The Enemy
Sometimes, the world can seem so dark and so confusing, that the only way to fight seems to be to literally attack. And that’s why images like this, of an African American minister, Shun Abram, confronting a Klu Klux Klan protestor calmly, strongly, and with peace, are so important. There are so many ways to fight, that to have heroes like this man is so essential for all of us. What an image.
7. Crying For The Teacher Who Changed His Life
This young man, Diego Frazão Torquato, was a member of something called Afro Reggae, a nonprofit that teaches music to children in the slums of Brazil. This image is of him at the funeral of one of his teachers who had passed away after being assaulted in Rio De Janeiro. The look of utter heartbreak is just increidbly powerful, but it also reflects something so important: this teacher clearly changed this boy’s life more than we can imagine. The fact that Diego is playing an instrument his teacher taught him at the funeral says so much about the impact we can have on the people we have around us.
Diego died at age 12 from leukemia. And as horrible as that is, it’s a reminder that no matter what age, no matter what the circumstance, a person is, we can do so much for them. If only we fight for them.
8. After Saving A Life
Sometimes fighting for the world just means going into work every day and working our hardest. In the case of the surgeon depicted in this famous photograph (that won “Photo of the Year” in 1987 from National Geographic), that is more true than ever. The image depicts him overlooking the patient’s vital signs after a twenty three hour heart transplant. Taken in Poland, during a time when the hospitals were in disrepair, this photo shows the utter exhaustion he and his assistant, sleeping in the corner, went through to save the patient’s life.
And the best part? The patient is still alive and kicking today.
9. Mocking And Losing
In 1960, a campaign to do “sit-ins” where blacks would sit in white-only areas of restaurants and demand to be served (non-violently, and perfectly following the rules) began. While it was an amazing campaign, some of the protesters had to deal with taunting, bullying, and worse. This image is just one example of the young people who helped turn over the world, all while being mocked, with food poured all over them. Note the white person sitting with them. These are people that knew that life is worth fighting for, even if it means everyone around you mocks you. Just look at who won.
10. Hope In The Shield
This could be considered a sequel to the image before, and an encapsulation of all the images. This simple moment at a KKK rally, of a young child coming up to playfully touch the shield of a black police officer, is so beautiful in the potential it shows. It shows just how easily barriers can be broken, just how ridiculous hate can be. And how all of us, just by being proudly who we are, can change the world.
There is hope. All we need to do is chase it down.