PSA describes drama of hunger, desperation, greed
“What is so powerful that it can make you overcome your greatest fear…turn your brother into an enemy…and leave wounds that scar long after the fighting is over? What is so potent, it passes effortlessly from mother to child…from generation to generation?”
The answer: “Hunger—so deadly it kills 25,000 people a day.”
What is so powerful that it can make you overcome your greatest fear…turn your brother into an enemy…and leave wounds that scar long after the fighting is over?
These questions are being asked by actors Djimon Hounsou, and Jennifer Connelly, two stars of the soon-to-be-released film Blood Diamond, in a new public service announcement for WFP.
WFP, the world’s largest humanitarian agency, hopes that the exposure generated by the Warner Bros. Pictures film will help raise much-needed awareness of hunger and poverty, which stalk more than 850 million people globally.
Reality of war
The film includes scenes depicting realistic aid operations as undertaken by WFP in the '90s while feeding thousands of war victims who fled within Sierra Leone and to neighbouring countries.
At the time, WFP aid workers witnessed acute humanitarian needs and untold levels of violence and cruelty, similar to those depicted in the movie.
“Hunger is often the root cause of desperate acts by desperate people,” said Neil Gallagher, WFP’s Director of Communications.
“Cinema is a very powerful medium to help generate greater awareness and concern about hunger, an issue largely ignored and little understood in the western world, where most people are far more worried about their waistlines.”
“Hunger is bad governance, hunger is need, hunger is poverty, hunger is any number of things,” said Edward Zwick, the director of Blood Diamond.
“It’s the outgrowth of something that is systemic, and when you have in place some system that is not enriching the lives of people whose country is being exploited, that leads to hunger. I think that exists in many areas of Africa, and in other parts of the world.”
Zwick continued, “As filmmakers, we want to be accurate and, in so many circumstances, the World Food Programme has been at the centre of refugee camps and present in countries in distress—in Sierra Leone and in other places.
"So if we, in the context of a movie, can put that image and the knowledge in front of a whole host of people who don’t know about it, then we’re hopefully doing well by them,” he said.
Some of the photographs used in the film trailer are part of a WFP/Benetton campaign launched in 2003, called “Hunger”, which featured powerful, intimate photos of war victims, including ex-combatants and amputees.