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Monday, October 17, 2005

UN 1, Smurfs 0

How they annihilated the Smurfs

By David Rennie
October 9, 2005

THE people of Belgium are reeling at the first adults-only episode of The Smurfs, in which the blue-skinned cartoon characters' village is annihilated by warplanes.

The short but chilling film is the work of UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, and is to be broadcast on national television next week as a campaign advertisement.

The animation was approved by the family of the Smurfs' late creator, "Peyo".

Belgian TV viewers had a preview of the 25-second film last week, when it was shown on the main evening news. Reactions ranged from approval to shock and, in the case of small children who saw it by accident, wailing terror.

UNICEF and the family company IMPS, which controls rights to the Smurfs, have stipulated that it is not to be broadcast before 9pm.

The short film pulls no punches. It opens with the Smurfs dancing hand-in-hand around a campfire and singing the Smurf song. Bluebirds flutter by and rabbits gambol about their village until, without warning, bombs rain from the sky.

Smurfs scatter and run before being felled by blast waves and explosions. The final scene shows a scorched Baby Smurf sobbing inconsolably.

The final frame bears the message: "Don't let war affect the lives of children."

I was just thinking this morning what UNICEF UK or Australia or US might do to shock the viewers out of their complacency towards innocent victims of war-like aggression.

In Australia, we might see Blinky Bill, Angelina Wallaby, Mrs Magpie and Jacko the Kookaburra on holidays in a Bali nightclub and getting blown to bits by a suicide bomber. Not once, but twice.

In the UK, we might see the Teletubbies on the Tube and Bob the Builder on the Number 26 Bus getting blown to smithereerns - also by a suicide bomber.

In the US, we would see the Simpsons take a family holiday to New York, and Homer racing up to the top of both Twin towers to use a toilet, only to die in an incendiary of avgas as a suicide pilot slams a planeload of a passengers into the side of the building.

Yes, war is hard on the little ones.

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