Friday, 10 August 2007

Sorry Vigário Geral, Gaza takes precedence, by David Wainer, The Jerusalem Post

“A recent documentary about the favelas Rio, Favela Rising, was nominated for an Oscar and honored with several awards including “Film of the Year” by the International Film Association for its glaring look at the violence of a favela called Vigário Geral. The film, which offers powerful imagery of the brutality of the gangs and the police in Rio, while tracing the mission of a local music group AfroReggae to inspire youngsters to stay away from drug-dealing, received excellent reviews in the Boston Globe, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Interestingly, at the very beginning of this acclaimed documentary, a screen shot in bold white letters printed over a black background offers perturbing statistics: While 467 minors were killed in Israel and the Palestinian Authority between 1987 to 2001 (a date which includes the first intifada), 3,937 minors were killed as a result of gang warfare in Rio de Janeiro alone - an 8 to 1 ratio.

None of the reviews have focused on this alarming fact and the message that the Brazilian directors intended to convey by this statistic. Why does a documentary that stresses the suffering and longing of the youth in the favelas of Rio care about the deaths of minors in Israel and the Palestinian territories? Because disproportionate media attention has been given to hyped conflicts such as Israel-Palestine and Kosovo, framing the public perception to believe that those conflicts are in fact the ones in most dire need of international aid. …

But is a Palestinian Arab or Israeli Jewish child worth any more than a Brazilian child? Is it fair to dump aid and diplomatic efforts and to disproportionately spotlight on one region of the world?”
Favela Rising a film by Jeff Zimbalist and Matt Mochary

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