The scene: a British girl of about seven years, blowing out the candles at her birthday party. Her parents’ smiles radiate in the background, reflecting their joy over another year well spent. If you’re reading this, you can agree that we’ve all had birthdays- celebrations spent normally surrounded by our closest friends and family. This we can relate to.
Resembling time-lapse photography and utilizing the “Second a Day” video format, the Save the Children ad symbolizes a year in the young girl’s life. As the point of view shot jumps from clip to clip, the audience watches her go about her daily routine, wet smooches from an elder, games of hide-and-seek, forcible tasting of food she regards with disgust, all happenings our own seven year old selves can surely relate to. Yet, as the ad progresses, background media announcing escalating conflict becomes more prevalent. Omnipresent violence disrupts the young girl’s life as she is forced to leave her home, evade bombs in chaotic neighborhood streets, and eventually, exhausted and smudged, ending up in a refugee camp. The commercial ends with the powerful statement, “Just because it isn’t happening here doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.”
It is indeed a provocative ad, forcing its viewers to imagine their normal life experience being completely uprooted, as if dropped into the most hellish, grueling, harrowing nightmare.
Often, we become numb to the conflict occurring around the world. An overwhelming amount of global issues can lead to apathy. The denial of others’ humanity cannot continue to exist, as we are currently undergoing the worst refugee crisis in the world today. According to Oxford Research Group in London, as of 2013, over 11,000 children have died amidst the war in Syria. In 2015 UNICEF reported 7.5 million Syrian children both inside and outside of the country are in need of humanitarian aid along with 2 million living on the run as refugees in search of safety. What if this was happening to this little girl in London? How about to the children on our own U.S. soil? What if this was happening to you?