Christian Long

Samantha Power: A Complicated Hero

In TED Talks on May 22, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Reflection by SHANNON L.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Samantha Power:  A Complicated Hero

As Americans and the global leaders, that we claim to be, we can not refuse to see evil, but we must recognize it and reach out to defuse the violence and suffering associated with it. Samantha Power, explains what she believes we, as leaders, need to do to stop and prevent evil from reoccurring in the world. In 1994, during the genocide in Rwanda, the American government failed to acknowledge the extermination of people by the Rwandan government, but instead focused on the endangered ape and gorilla population. This was not just the governments fault, but of us, as people too.

When we turned our back to the situation, a man by the name of Sergio Vieira de Mello stepped up to face the challenged. He was Brazilian and a UN diplomat for thirty five years, who stopped at nothing to save those from evil. At first Sergio was ignored by the government, because instead of facing evil he would just tell the government what they could not do. This did not last long. He quickly adapted and realized he needed to face evil in order to change it, and get the attention of others. Sergio followed the headlines and traveled to most of the places that were suffering the worst in the world. These places included Bangladesh, were he helped with the outflow of many refugees, Sudan, when the civil war broke out there, and Cyprus, for the Turkish invasion. These were just a few of the places Sergio faced. He was the first person to negotiate with the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the Serbs, and many others, trying to convince evil that it doesn’t need to prevail. While he was in the Balkans, he earned his nickname Serbio for all his efforts to prevent evil from rising.

In order to try and stop the genocide, Sergio went to the international community, to see if he could have a police force to separate evil from the victims in order to supply those in need with food and goods. He was denied of a police force, which then posed a hard question, do we stop the relief work and let two million people die? Or do we keep feeding the people as well as the evil?

In 2001 after 9/11, Sergio was named UN Human Rights Commissioner. He then earned himself his last battle against evil. He went over to Iraq in the beginning of the war to try and stop evil from prevailing once again. He was apart of the first suicide bombing there, and because the American soldiers were not equipped with the right tools to pull Sergio out of all the rubble, he died. Although the death of Sergio was very sad, the American government then realized the need of a search and rescue team.

Adaptation, a reverence for dignity, freedom from fear, and being aware of the complexity of evil to fix it, are the four points Samantha Power believes will prevent evil from prevailing. As Power said, “If we want to see change, we need to become the change.” We can’t wait around for change, because it is never going to happen unless we, as leaders, do something about it.


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