beauty pageant Posts

Beauty Queens and Landmines

I like people who surprise me.

Not jump-out-of-a-dark-corner-and-shout-boo surprise me, but people who do the unexpected.  It’s a refreshing reminder about the power of humanity and the power of an individual.  Donna told a great story at our staff meeting this morning about kindness and reciprocity, which inspired this blog post.

My friend Molly emailed this article to me yesterday.  I read it, thought it was nice and went about my day.  But something about it stuck with me.  It may be the musical association I attributed to it.  I’m a big music fan, and an even bigger U2 fan; there’s a continual sountrack of life running in my head generally, and after I read that article, I had U2’s “Miss Sarajevo” floating around for a while.

“Miss Sarajevo” was added to the soundtrack of a documentary film with the same name.  Director and humanitarian Bill Carter filmed amidst a war-torn Yugoslavia in the winter of 1993.  Both the documentary and the song captured the story of a beauty pageant held during this time of war and chaos.  The song, whose video is included below, is beautiful and only improved by Luciano Pavarotti singing the bridge.

Those are the kinds of surprises I like.  So when I read more about Miss Landmine Angola 2008, it caught my attention.  For one night, the 10 women will put aside their own discomfort or self-consciousness and challenge the established concepts of beauty, raise awareness about global and local landmines and embody the idea of female pride and empowerment.

The concept of non traditional beauty pageants may not be entirely new, but empowering these women with pride and beauty is definitely a little earth-changing idea that makes you take notice.

Voting is still open, and Miss Landmine Angola will be crowned tonight.  All contentants will receive government help to go back to school or start a small business, and the winner will also receive a new custom-made prosthetic limb.