The Slaughter of Innocence

The UK Telegraph reports that UNICEF Belgium has produced a short film in order to raise money for a program to rehabilitate former child soldiers in Burundi. The film shows the popular cartoon characters The Smurfs as their village is bombed. The final shot is of Baby Smurf as he cries in a field of unmoving blue bodies and the ruins of the village burns in the background.

The reasoning behind such horrific images is to motivate jaded contributors to open their wallets and dig deep.

Philippe Henon, a spokesman for UNICEF Belgium, said his agency had set out to shock, after concluding that traditional images of suffering in Third World war zones had lost their power to move television viewers.

If relatively bloodless scenes will rake in the cash, why didnít the people who created the ad really lay on the gore? It seems that they wanted to but cooler heads prevailed.

Julie Lamoureux, account director at Publicis for the campaign, said the agency’s original plans were toned down. “We wanted something that was real war – Smurfs losing arms, or a Smurf losing a head -but they said no.”

So this is the civilized version. Glad they cleared that up for me.

The Smurfs have been around since 1958, so itís certain that most adults have a certain amount of affection for these beloved childhood icons. The ad is also not to be broadcast before 9 PM, an obvious attempt to reduce exposure to younger viewers. But Smurfs are, after all, cartoon characters that are at the center of childrenís lives. Images showing the violent death of these characters are bound to have a profound and long lasting effect on the most vulnerable and impressionable section of the population.

Everyone involved in the project say that they just want to raise money for a noble and worthy cause, but I canít help but think that there is another agenda here.

8 thoughts on “The Slaughter of Innocence”

  1. The sad thing is that a Beligium company owns the Smurfs intellectual property, so this is most likely an official production. I’ll not be bying any Smurf merchandise for my (future) kids.

  2. Interesting that they are killed by air attack, in other words, by the USA. Not a very subtle message — give money to the UN because the USA uses its aircraft to murder children. Why not have a car bomber murder the smurfs? Because the UN is not interested in opposing the kind of people who murder actual civilians with car bombs.

  3. Interesting that they are killed by air attack, in other words, by the USA. Not a very subtle message — give money to the UN because the USA uses its aircraft to murder children.

    My point exactly, although I probably didn’t voice it clearly.

    Another aspect to consider is that an NGO thinks that the way to maximize donations is to criticize the US, and to create a straw man in order to do it. (The US didn’t bomb Burundi, as Andy points out.) This makes perfect sense considering how anti-Americanism has become such a cornerstone of European thought in recent decades.


  4. Wait a second…. they wanted something that was “real war” using cartoon characters? If one were to give an award for gormless Eurocrat and UNcratic ideas, a short film summarized by the sentence, “Imagine that painting Guarnica, except without the cubism and using Smurfs instead of humans…” is right up at the top of the list. With anti-Americans like these jokers, what need is there to fund the VOA?

    I know if I was a 14 year old former child soldier in Africa, a UNICEF film about European cartoon characters getting bombed would convince me never to be a child soldier again… err… or maybe not.

    From an American viewpoint, this type of UNICEF, NGO weirdness should be copied and sent to every single Congressman and Senator in D.C., as well as to their district newspapers. That way more questions would be raised regarding all the money US taxpayers pay out to the organizations responsible…

  5. What I thought was especially telling in the coverage of this Smurf snuff film was the amount of money they’re attempting to raise: around $125,000. Here in the U.S., some churches, elementary schools, and high-school marching bands could raise that money with ridiculous ease. I don’t think it says anything positive about the Belgians that they felt they had to ruin one of their own favorite pop-culture creations just to shock themselves into scrounging up a token amount to help some of the most wretched children on the planet. I’m really very tired of hearing my own country badmouthed by such jaded and uncharitable people.

  6. Doesn’t the defense department buy M-16s manufactured by FN? So it’s ok to sell
    the EVIL ‘merkins weapons of war, but it’s
    not ok to use them to defend freedom?

    Good luck with the dhimmitude you crazy
    ass belgins.

  7. I don’t know what effect it has on the Belgians, but on this old lady who remembers the good old “squash a Smurf!” days of the late ’70’s and early ’80’s, the effect it produced was a good laugh. Which I suspect is not what the ad agency intended.

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