Faked Infanticide?

Well, this is disturbing, even for me.

Christian missionary organization Youth with a Mission filmed a documentary movie called Hakani aimed at shedding light on the practice of infanticide in Brazil.

They say tribal communities are burying alive infants who have some sort of handicap.

You can watch a clip of the movie here. (Warning: It’s disturbing. And there’s nudity.)

There’s just one problem with all this.

It’s faked.

London-based Survival International said in a statement the film is “faked, that the earth covering the children’s faces is actually chocolate cake, and that the film’s claim that infanticide among Brazilian Indians is widespread is false.

“People are being taught to hate Indians, even wish them dead,” said Survival’s director, Stephen Corry.

The Indians in the movie are actors, too.

Why is this a big deal?

Stephen Corry [of Survivor International]: The film and its message are harmful. They focus on what they claim happens routinely in Indian communities, but it doesn’t. It incites feelings of hatred against Indians. Look at the comments on the YouTube site, things like, ‘So get rid of these native tribes. They suck’, and, ‘Those amazon mother f—ers burrying (sic) little kids, kill them all’. The filmmakers should be ashamed of all the harm this film is doing to the people they are trying to help.

It’s amazing how far some people will go to justify their religious mission work… There are enough problems with the world as is. No need to exaggerate anything for effect.

(Thanks to grazatt for the link!)

  • http://www.abandonallfear.org.uk Lex Fear

    From the USA Today article you linked:

    They teamed up with David Cunningham, an American film director whose father founded Youth With A Mission, to make a movie, Hakani, that graphically recreates Hakani’s alleged attempted murder. It is shown on the Internet and at churches in the USA and Brazil to raise money and awareness of legislation against infanticide in the Brazilian legislature.

    So who’s trying to incite feelings of hatred here?

    The video here is obviously not real because (a) whoever was filming it should have been compelled to intervene if it was and (b) there are camera angles of ‘dirt’ being piled on top.

    I don’t think the intention of whoever made this clip/film was to send the message it was a real burying. It’s slightly disingenuous to accuse the film-maker of doing so.

    As for the controversy – I see no difference to the Canadian government advertisements that show a pair of lungs on a packet of cigarettes and on TV – it’s a shock tactic – probably to shock more Christians (the target audience) into giving/going to help.

    There are places in the world and still remote tribes out there that do participate in terrible rituals – Africa where children are regularly accused of witchcraft and albino’s are killed by witch-doctors. It’s not make-believe but it is a reality and a sad fact.

  • http://foreverinhell.blogspot.com Personal Failure

    If you can’t convert people to your point of view without lying, your point of view sucks.

    And I am sorry Lex Fear, but clearly the point of this video is to make it seem as if children in these villages are in clear and present danger, and need the baby Jesus to rescue them.

    Not acceptable.

  • http://www.sheeptoshawl.com writerdd

    Disgusting.

  • Todd

    As for the controversy – I see no difference to the Canadian government advertisements that show a pair of lungs on a packet of cigarettes and on TV – it’s a shock tactic – probably to shock more Christians (the target audience) into giving/going to help.

    You’re right, of course. One warns us of the dangers of smoking and the other warns us of the dangers of uncultured savages.

  • Miko

    Their point of view is that we should pass laws to forcibly take indigenous children away from their parents. There’s a long and ignoble tradition of spreading lies about foreign cultures like this, and it’s invariably done as a means to justify kidnapping and “Christianizing” their children (in which the U.S. also played a rather nasty role with respect to the Native Americans).

  • schism

    I’m trying to figure out if this qualifies as real life imitating Cannibal Holocaust. There’s an obvious difference in degree, but you still have that overarching “heathen savages-as-plot device” theme.

  • Larry Huffman

    LOL…comparing a video showing the extremes of smoking with outright lies that depict a murder to forward a religious agenda? Yeah…those are similar. (stupid and off the mark comparison)

    People who have to lie to themselves in order to believe their fairy tales…will lie about anything else to forward their agenda.

    If you want a comparison, a better one is the way the religious right sold Prop 8 in California. They made outlandish claims about what would happen in the schools if prop 8 did not pass. Kids would be taught all about homosexuality at an almost obscene level…never mind that more kids were learning about it BECAUSE of the religious right. They showed an advertisement that was allegedly a teacher making her students attend a lesbian wedding against their wishes…when it was really the teacher’s wedding…no one was forced…all of them were invited. But there were two “christian” parents blatantly lying in order to help forward their agenda.

    Christians lie when it comes to protecting and defending their religion…no doubt about that. It has been pointed out over and over (and over and over). And they see nothing wrong with following a god who requires lies and deceipt to forward his ‘kingdom’.

  • Pingback: sappari, zenzen » Blog Archive » Liars for Jesus (and racism!)

  • Aaron

    Okay, let me think out loud for a second.

    People are in an uproar because the movie is “faked”. The question is, then: who thought it was real in the first place? I’ve been reading up on it since I read this article, and a number of things jumped out at me. First of all, the movie itself clearly states that it’s a dramatisation. It even has a recognizable director attached to it. It doesn’t appear as if YWAM ever tried to pass it off as “real footage”.

    And yet, you have stuff like this:

    London-based Survival International said in a statement the film is “faked, that the earth covering the children’s faces is actually chocolate cake, and that the film’s claim that infanticide among Brazilian Indians is widespread is false.”

    But this should have been any sort of revelation. I mean, it was a docudrama. It was advertised as a docudrama. Why, then, are people in an uproar over the fact that the docudrama starred actors, as if that was some sort of secret?

    The problem lies with the “true story” claims, but the film is autobiographical. I mean, it’s possible that it all happened. It’s possible that none of it happened, too, but I don’t think that people would claim there isn’t a shred of truth to it.

    As for the claims of infanticide, there’s really no way of know whether it’s as much of a problem as they say it is. The purpose of the film is to draw attention to it by highlighting one story.

    In the end, it’s inciting hated, which is a very, very bad thing. But I don’t think it’s nearly as underhanded as people are painting it. Maybe it really is a problem that’s been swept under the carpet. Maybe it really does need attention.

    Maybe not.

    I don’t know.

    Anyway, carry on. I don’t think I’ll have a well-formed opinion on this any time soon.

  • http://www.abandonallfear.org.uk Lex Fear

    I guess you’re all letting your bias affect your critical thinking.

    Let’s take another quote from that USA Today article:

    ‘The kindest thing to do’

    It is a view shared by some activists. “I’m not going to defend infanticide,” says Fiona Watson of Survival International, a group that defends the right of native tribes all over the world. “But I think you have to understand,” she says, that in the context of Indian culture, “it’s not considered murder.”

    So it appears that Survival International ARE in agreement that burying disabled babies happens.. the only points of difference is of how widespread it is and their ethics.

    That’s a far cry from “It’s FAKE and RACIST and they’re making SLAVES!”

    I guess the way Survival put it, it is on par with abortion – apart from it’s waiting till the baby is born – then using a cruel form of termination rather than say, club to the head which would be instant.. Oh but wait, we must pander to the religious sensibilities of the tribe, which states traditionally the ghost of the child will come back to haunt them if not buried alive!

    So which is it? Are you all in favour of supporting a barbaric religious/superstitious practice or against barbaric religious/superstitious practice?

    Seriously, the lengths some of you will go to defend any old superstition, religion or cult in order to spite Christians, (or in this case a Christian-based organisation), is both hilarious and sad.

    Oh and fyi, YWAM is not a fundamentalist organisation – it’s multi-denominational (it may have it’s fair share of fundamentalists but it also has a great number of Anglicans leading it). It’s a missions based organisation that has been going for longer than Survival International, and a part of a wider mission that has been going on since the first missionary disciples were tortured and killed.

    I’m sure no one would disagree that you are free to hire transport and take atheism to the far reaches of planet if you wish – since it is imperative to relieve these barbaric people of their lives of fear under superstition and religion.

    ETA: Survival getting upset by YouTube commenters?! Do they use the internets? LOL

  • postsimian

    Ah, point of clarity here: I’ve read about this happening from more reliable sources. I even had to argue the issue from the tribal/government point of view in one of my classes. The infanticide does indeed take place in response to the “defects,” but it’s not widespread. From what I understand, it’s isolated to a single tribe. Movie: fake. Infanticide: real. M’kay? *nods*

    In other news: Lex, grow up and quit putting words into peoples’ mouths. Drop the persecution complex while you’re at it.

  • Nixxy

    The infanticide does indeed take place in response to the “defects,” but it’s not widespread. From what I understand, it’s isolated to a single tribe.

    So the movie is just an exaggeration?

    Seriously, the lengths some of you will go to defend any old superstition, religion or cult in order to spite Christians, (or in this case a Christian-based organisation), is both hilarious and sad.

    Actually, if the court says christians are allowed do something as long as they allow other religions to do the same, then atheists will fight against any effort to prevent this.

    For example, If a cross is on public property all by it’s lonesome, then the atheist will fight to remove it. If they lose, (because of mentioned above) then any attempt made to prevent, say, a wiccan pentagon from being shown on the same property will also be fought against.

    So no, it’s not to spite christians. It’s to prevent christians from discriminating and lying about all the others.

  • Count Drunkula

    …and the fact that infanticide does, in fact, happen (on whatever level) is meaningful how, exactly?
    Here’s a wake up call: Practically every society has practiced infanticide at some point in time for some reason or another throughout history, and while it is incredibly easy for those of us, religious or otherwise, in first world nations to sit on our high horses and call it shocking, we all too easily forget that the (arguably all too small) measures we have enacted to care for those who cannot care for themselves are a luxury.

    The simple truth is that, in a subsistance society, there simply aren’t enough resources to care for those who cannot carry their own weight. Ugly and sad, but true.

  • Todd

    Oh and fyi, YWAM is not a fundamentalist organisation – it’s multi-denominational (it may have it’s fair share of fundamentalists but it also has a great number of Anglicans leading it). It’s a missions based organisation that has been going for longer than Survival International, and a part of a wider mission that has been going on since the first missionary disciples were tortured and killed.

    An organization that has been infiltrated by the theocratic Joel’s Army movement. A group whose founder had involvement in the Rios Montt military coup in Guatemala. A group that has had numerous allegations of cult like authoritarian behavior leveled against leaders by former members.

    Sorry, but we’re not exactly talking about the Christian Children’s Fund here.

  • postsimian

    Drunkula – what it tells me is “modernize and Westernize these people as fast as possible!”

  • Aaron

    An organization that has been infiltrated by the theocratic Joel’s Army movement. A group whose founder had involvement in the Rios Montt military coup in Guatemala. A group that has had numerous allegations of cult like authoritarian behavior leveled against leaders by former members.

    Well, you’re right to a certain extent. I have several friends who have been involved with YWAM at some point, including my fiance. A couple of them found it to be a wonderful non-denominational humanitarian group with their desire to help others placed far ahead of any “conversion” goals.

    On the flip side, one friend had to go for counselling for years after being involved with them. They told her it was a sin to be friends with people who weren’t Christian. Oh, and they were more than happy to steamroll over people groups in order to “spread the Word”.

    YWAM is a giant, giant entity with little or no regulation or accountability. Pretty much everything can found under its umbrella.

  • Cindy

    How about we make a film (with actors) about how a religious group allows step-fathers to rape their 9-year old step-daughters and when the child gets pregnant, they force her to have the child rather than have an abortion. Then we can show it to the legislature so we can get all this group’s children taken away from them.

  • Todd

    YWAM is a giant, giant entity with little or no regulation or accountability. Pretty much everything can found under its umbrella.

    It nominally fulls under the leadership of the Assemblies of God these days. It’s questionable if it was ever a humanitarian group as it’s focus was always evangelism, but with the take over by the AoG, you cannot credibly classify it as a nondenominational organization anymore.

  • BathTub

    Everyone is aware that this film is by Kevin Miller, the guy who co-wrote Expelled with Ben Stein?

  • http://www.noonespecial.ca/cacophony Tao Jones

    Sadly, things like this have been going on for a very long time.

    See, if you don’t “go forth and multiply” you are either exterminated, indoctrinated or forcibly segregated. The propaganda is always the same whether being spun from the pulpit or editing studio.

    Leave these people alone!!

  • The Brazilian

    Ok, as it is obvious I am from Brazil. Some points I would like to clarify.
    1) There is no discussion in the government to create a law to take out indians children from their parents. I checked in the Senate, in the Presidence, etc… and there´s no such law or project for one.
    2) The Brazilian Indians, except the “aculturados” (assimilated into the Brazilian society), are already under the State´s protection. They are not considered capable of civil acts, like singing contracts.
    3) The fake ritual of burying a child alive is bulshit. What sometimes happens is that a handicaped children are left alone in the woods. They die from starvation or predator´s attack. Sat, brutal, etc… but this is not “common” or a “cultural costume”.
    4) The Funai, the government organ that deals with indians, normally take children with fisical or mental problems to be treate in the cities. Most of the Brazilians Tribes receive regular visitations from Funai. No big deal.
    5) Many times the Funai had problems with missionaries, specially Americans and Europeans. they contat tribes witout autorization, try to force cultural changes and sometimes even kidnap some children.


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