NonprofitMy Afghan Combat Translator Saved My Life In The War. Together We've Saved Over 5,000 Additional Lives. Ask Us Anything.
Oct 31st 2017 by No1LeftBehind • 13 Questions • 351 Points
EDIT: Thanks for your questions, I really appreciate your interest. Its always good to know that there are many people out there who care deeply about the natural world. I think before we think about Mars, we need to look after Earth. Take careBrent
Hey my name is Brent Stirton and I’m a South African photographer with a lot of experience in the documentary world. I currently spend most of my time working on long-term investigative projects for National Geographic Magazine, but my work has been published in Vanity Fair, Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, and other outlets. I have a big passion for issues related to wildlife, conservation, global health, diminishing cultures, sustainability and the environment.
Last week, I was named the 2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year by the Natural History Museum for this piece I did on rhino poaching: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/10/dark-world-of-the-rhino-horn-trade/
Other projects: https://www.brentstirton.com/state-of-blindness/ https://proof.nationalgeographic.com/2013/12/13/brent-stirton-an-ode-to-nelson-mandela/ https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/proof/2016/07/questions-and-answers-brent-stirton/ https://www.brentstirton.com
Matt or Janis: What needs to happen on the federal level to make it possible for those who have laid down their lives and livelihoods for American soldiers to be able to emigrate to the United States? What are the main roadblocks to clear, and what message would you like to give directly to the President, the Department of State, and the Department of Homeland Security.
It's awesome what you're doing guys. Amazing stuff!
I love Gamers Gift! What is the end goal for each of you outside of Gamers Gift? What skills do you bring from your other experiences into Gamers Gift?
Congress needs to pass a law allocating enough visas to cover all applicants. Currently, they have only allocated enough visas to cover 2,000 of the remaining 14,000 applicants. Moreover, Congress should declare once and for all that the Special Immigration Visa Program is tied to the formal end of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq - i.e. when we aren't militarily engaged and in need of their people to translate for us. Currently, the program must be authorized every few years. In the most recent years, we barely succeeded in convincing the more conservative members of Congress on the merit and need for this program.
Additionally, Congress and the President could go the extra mile and declare our wartime allies to be "honorary veterans" of the United States.
These men and women have served our country with the same valor as my fellow soldiers.. Veterans status is earned through service to our country, not placement in the birth lottery. Just because Janis was born in Afghanistan, doesn’t make his eight years of combat service any less honorable than my one tour. In fact, I’d argue, he’s the real veteran between the two of us. I got to come home at the end of my tour. He went on to the next unit and the next mission.
If we are going to continue our commitment to Afghanistan, I believe two things must occur. Congress must make the SIV program permanent. Currently, it must be reauthorized annually, and, in years past, we’ve nearly lost it.
Moreover, Congress should declare the Afghan and Iraqi wartime allies who fought with us to be “Honorary Veterans.”
Granting Honorary Veteran status to Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) recipients and Priority 2 Refugee Admissions Program recipients will give the private sector the option to provide support to this population. Right now there are 56,000 501(c)3 organizations who work to support veterans, and many are interested in also supporting those wartime allies who stood with us in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Importantly, declaring our Afghan and Iraqi wartime allies as "Honorary Veterans" will NOT: • Take away any benefits from veterans already in place • Give them any VA or GI Bill benefits • Give them priority in any way over U.S. born veterans
Matt: I’ve lost count at the number of times I’ve tried to enlist other veteran organizations to help No One Left Behind in our mission to resettle our wartime allies only to be told, “Well, we can’t assist you because they’re not technically veterans.” Yet, no less than General Pete Chiarelli, former Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, has said, these brave people were “just as much a soldier as I am" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yISst0dbQ_g&t
Thankfully, we have some movement around the "Honorary Veterans" provision.
To date we have received endorsements from:
- All post 9/11 former Secretaries of Defense: Rumsfeld, Gates, Panetta, Hagel, and Carter
- Generals Pete Pace, David Petraeus, and many others,
- Ambassadors Bolton, Crocker, Jeffrey, & Wolfowitz
- Former House Intel Chairman Mike Rogers
- Medal of Honor recipient Sen. Bob Kerrey
- The Vietnam Veterans of America
- Wounded Warrior Project
- NYC Veterans Alliance
- 17,000 have signed our Honorary Veteran petition on Change.org:
Here is the link to our recent Fox News interview with Pete Hegseth and Abby Huntsman:
Bipartisan Senate resolution would help combat translators
I want to do something amazing with technology, something that makes an impact on the present and future. This includes, but is not limited to, an evil death ray. I'm a really good Googler, so anytime we need something I always have a solution: 'Google it!' - Dillon
It's tough to pick a favorite project, I tend to work on things I feel I should, that often means they're difficult and when I'm shooting I'm worried that I'm not getting it right. I'm also someone who once he has finished something, doesn't want to look back on it. I can say anything where I can make images with emotional content, that's what I am drawn to. As for favorite project, that would be the next one.
Who is your favorite Team GG streamer who streams on the Gamers Gift Twitch channel?
On a more serious note, what it the end goal for Gamers Gift, do you hope to eventually be a larger organization helping people across the US?
You all are awesome and keep doing the good things you do!
Hi Brent! Have you ever been in a shoot where you were personally in danger but stayed to get the shot? e.g. Paul Nicklen and the leopard seals
I'll in be in Central California next week, Bay Area the week after, and SoCal in December for visits. Every person in the world facing hardship deserves the escape VR provides. -Dillon
The dangers I've had have come far more from people. For example, I have been in a number of situations with Rangers where we are being fired on by rebels who are poaching. I also worked in Iraq and Afghanistan where its normal to be under fire at some point. That said, I have had to run up plenty of thorn trees to get away from charging rhinos. Elephants too, and they are really scary as they can knock the tree down and they are really tall. I try not to agitate them when I'm working but sometimes I am in the wrong place at the wrong time. As for Paul, he's a genuine animal whisperer, I don't have his skillset so generally I have run faster than the guy next to me if the animal decides to charge
Yeah, but the detractors didn’t have a high enough rating and were cast out of society.
Thanks for the answer.
I personally can't use any of the gear for more than a couple hours. Just kind of gives me a bit of a headache. -Amber
Sure, I'm sorry I don't have anything better to add. I wish you the best with your work
Are there dangers for vision associated with wearing gear that close to the eyes?
Hi Brent, how do you choose your projects and do you have advice for creative people who also want to make an impact? Thanks!
As far as I know, not really for adults. It can cause some eye/ head discomfort though for some people.
I have read that there may be some increased risks for children using VR for extended periods of time since their eyes are still in development and they need to see a certain amount of sunlight and whatnot for their eyes to develop correctly.
I choose my projects based on what I think is the greatest need. I am also asked to do projects which I feel I should do. Its a mix. As for creatives, I would say use any channel you can to get the word out. If you work for an agency, see if they can do some pro bono work on these issues. Try to help NGO's that deserve it. People like the EIA and the IAPF, but do your research first as to who is really effective. Creatives can be really valuable in raising public awareness, the biggest issue is ignorance on all sides