Christian Aid Week

May 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Christian Aid’s advert certainly strikes a chord these past weeks what with recent events in Burma and China.  Taking the form of a computer game, the ad, publicising this week’s Christian Aid Week (11-17th May), points out that “natural disasters always hit the poorest hardest? while far-off characters are hit by a hurricane.  The village is then rebuilt and fortified against the next hit, which they survive demonstrating that with the right equipment these catastrophes can not only be predicted, but also often prevented.

The fitting computer game style, without doubt, says something about the unreal, other-worldly sensation westerners often experience when greeted by coverage of natural disasters that occur abroad.  Not only this, but also the elevated viewpoint, putting us well and truly in the position of the button pusher, certainly goes some way to commenting on the significant power that we have to donate to these causes and make a difference.

The only hang-up I have with this advert is the way its detached form in effect borders on economic dispassion.  When shocking photos appear daily on the front of numerous newspapers how is a cartoon about little computerised faceless people going to trigger them to sympathetically reach into their pockets?  I’m not saying it’s not a clever point about the insignificance this magnitude of victims has in many people’s consciousness, but is Christian Aid’s ad truly hard-hitting enough to get an immediate donation?  This week we shall see.