Tag Archives | africa

Show me the money

AM I the only one who had a seriously bad reaction to the financial details that emerged from the divorce battle between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes?

Just after the announcement of the split, a story titled ‘‘Katie set to lose millions’’ was doing the media rounds. It referred to her prenuptial agreement worth a debated $US50 million including their California home. The story said that with Cruise’s estate worth upwards of $275m, Holmes was expected to sue for more. Since then we know there’s been a settlement.

But prior to this New York divorce attorney Vikki Ziegler told Hollywood Life that because of the pre-nup, Holmes would need to use their daughter, Suri, as ‘‘a pawn’’ to get more money. ‘‘She’ll have to show that Suri has nannies, cars, activities, clothes, hair appointments. That a hefty amount each month is needed to maintain Suri’s lifestyle.’’ An early story that ran the media gauntlet alleged Suri had a $150,000 shoe collection. Continue Reading →


The mighty pen

The power of the pen can be great when the unfairness of the world is too much to bear.

“Please missus, please pen,” cries a little boy amidst a throng of children all begging for pens and school books. But I’ve just run out.

I’m in the heart of Africa, in a village in Tanzania. Like many villages it’s wracked by poverty; no running water, no electricity. Malaria is rife. Though many children are now being educated, far too many lack the basics for school such as pens and note paper.

I’ve gone and bought a box of pens to give the kids. It cost me the equivalent of two dollars to buy 50 pens. And yet most parents can’t afford even this. I stand throwing pens into the crowd of anxious faces and clawing hands as my partner snaps photos. Later we will look at the photos in the safety of our hotel room and be shocked by the desperation.

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How to deal with suffering

It’s hard to stomach world suffering

IT’S been a horrible few weeks in the world, and a hard time for sensitive people. The daily news has been so distressing and appalling that if I were not a journalist, I wouldn’t turn on or read the news.

As it is, I can’t read the papers over breakfast, or watch television news over dinner, as what I see often makes my stomach turn and I can’t digest my food.

Last week there were two or three stories that had me feeling ill and powerless, but I soldiered on, feeling dreadful: children hit by cars, abused, murdered, starving; the massacring of animals; revelations of torture. But something snapped one morning after one particular story: I was in the bathroom putting on make-up, then I was suddenly crouched on the floor, crying. My partner tried to comfort me but I said this to him, and I am saying it now.

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