Making videos from Burj El Barajneh refugee camp has become quite popular after 2famous.Tv started volunteering there last year. One of the old dinosaurs of hipster journalism, VICE magazine, uses the fame of Spike Jonez to sell their version; They imply that the kids in Burj el Barajneh are being trained to become suicide bombers for Hezbollah.
It’s speculative at best and possibly dangerous.
Please Comment under, what you guys think of the Vice Video from Beirut!
VICE IN THE REFUGEE CAMP!
The ûber cool and famous hipster magazine Vice posted their 2007 video from Burj el Barajneh refugee camp and named it with the hip and shocking title “Child Suicide Bombers in Training”. This of course is a good old SEO trick that some of the Vice guys have picked up. As Bill gates said, “If you cant make it good, make it look good.” To make it true might be hard though, even for the Vice guys.
In the sensation seeking video, (rather than calling it a documentary) the editor and the co-founder of VICE talk to famous director Spike Jonze about their trip to Beirut. The video cuts to a Palestinian leader of a West Bank-based militia talking in general about his goals for the resistance (as the Palestinians call the struggle to get their land back). These shots are mixed with kids dancing and kids singing songs against Israel. The conclusion the Vice co-founding skater dude makes is that the kids he saw were suicide bombers: an assumption he pretty much pulls out of thin air.
After creating this assumption himself the co-founder of Vice, Shane Smith, is so astonished he, funnily enough, doesn’t know what to do with this. Unfortunately, he ended up making this video. To get some credibility the Vice guys also interviewed American writer, Mia Bloom, who wrote a book, Dying to Kill, which is about suicide bombers. Mia says that part of being a patriotic Palestinian kid is to go out and throw rocks at Israel and to let the Israelis kill them – so they can become martyrs.
The interview with Bloom is irrelevant since these kids live in a refugee camp in Lebanon and have never thrown rocks at Israel, or even seen Israelis. Ok, they probably did catch glimpses of the Israeli bomb planes in 2006. She also says that the boy scout leaders could be encouraging these children to commit suicide missions while a video of a boy scout leader Ahmed is shown on screen.
We at 2famous.TV see Ahmed all the time in the camp and we were quite surprised Vice managed to turn him into a child suicide training officer. Perhaps that’s just a way for Vice to return the hospitality after Ahmed invited them to coffee at his family’s house.
- “Of course we have never trained kids into becoming suicide bombers,” a shocked Ahmed told 2famous.TV over the phone.
Ahmed feels taken advantage of in the hipster “documentary” where he is portrayed as a an authority on training child suicide bombers, rather than his actual job as a scouts leader.
- “I think it is bad because it is not true, they make me look like I train suicide bombers! I was just talking about my tattoo and got put completely out of context,” he continued.
Here you can see some of the videos 2famous.TV have made from the camp:
Vice-style: If you don’t have a story – make a story.
So what we have is a Vice “documentary” starring Spike Jonze about children suicide bombers with an “expert”. No wonder Vice claims they do investigating journalism.
In addition to taking content out of context and giving it new meanings, the hipster magazine also cross cuts between videos they shot in the camp along with archive clips of Palestine. The kids in the camp have never been to Palestine. Most of their parents have never been there either. Then you see a Palestinian family with some statements from a Hezbollah representative, talking in favor of the martyrs. This strongly implies the connection between that Palestinian family and Hezbollah which, if not dangerous, could in the very least cause that family some problems.
Palestinian Partnership with Hezbollah?
Hezbollah and the Palestinians are two different groups, for example: Hezbollah is Shia and the majority of the Palestinians are Sunni. Although they have both been bombed by Israel, that doesn’t mean they are friends — or training each other’s kids to be suicide bombers.
Taking Care of The Scouts
While they show some young scouts who the Vice guys claim are suicide bombers, they put a text on the bottom of the screen stating that the World Organization of the Scout Movement (the Boy Scouts) has nothing to do with these kids. NICE. It seems hipper to stick it to the Palestinian children who tried to impress the visitors with a dance than to offend a blatantly homophobic international organization.
Too Complex for Fiction?
If Vice were making a Hollywood movie, then it would be understandable that they want to make the Palestinian children into Hezbollah warriors. But the situation is, unfortunately for Vice, a bit more complicated.
What is a Martyr?
The Vice guys also make it sound like the Arabic concept of a martyr is the same as the western suicide bomber. But it’s not. When the Palestinians talk about martyrs they simply mean people that were killed in conflict. In this case during the 2006 war. Normally they are civilians and when one of the guys says that two thirds of the martyrs were children, that just means that two thirds of the victims were children — not that they were suicide bombers, as Vice tries to make it sound.
In the end of the video the guys discuss how big this problem is and that it will go on forever. With videos like this being made, unfortunately it will. We can understand the need to make it entertaining, but if the filmmakers were actually interested in making a change, they would have put more emphasis on understanding the situation — not to mention getting to know the people they were interviewing.
By doing this they could have helped break down the stereotypes they instead end up building. Vice also makes it harder for the Palestinians to trust any western journalist. They get more scared of us, while the audience gets more scared of Palestinians.
But hey! Who cares as long as Spike Jonez is in it?
What do you guys think of the Vice video?
2famous.TV wonders if the child suicide bombers are the same kids we play with when we go to the camps on Saturdays. Did they come to the party we threw in the camp?