Have you all seen the new Amnesty ad? Take a look! It’s called: ‘Chains’
I have to commend Amnesty. They hired some great crew to get this just spot on. Its not overly dramatic or Hollywoodised. The cinematic effects are so subtle that really it’s just one of those little productions where the facts are allowed to speak for themselves. You know… the stats, the bits where they quote stats and facts and blow us all away with reason…? Yeah that bit. Well, facts may be the wrong word. But they’ve got Liam Neeson doing the voice over so that makes up for facts.
I love, love, love the black and white thing, clearing to colour at the end when the veil of evil is lifted. Its so potent. You can’t really go for restrained suggestion here because Amnesty know we aren’t able for that, so in their charity and clarity, they coloured it all to reflect the message, past = bad = monochrome, future = can be better = pretty colours. There are no confusing ambiguities in the camera work, which is fine as there’s nothing worth saving from history anyway and the Church in Ireland was obviously sacrificing women and doing no good anywhere, so best to clear that up. In black and white. Amnesty et al do love tolerance of course, but only of certain things, and the Catholic Church and its history in Ireland is not one of them. Good for Amnesty for clearing up any remaining tolerant attitudes we may have harboured for our Catholic past.
I have a few thoughts on where Amnesty could really have driven this message home with greater dramatic scope. I humbly suggest, a few waif like white figures of dead women wafting by in the background, preferably wailing, would help to get across the maternal mortality rate from lack of abortion provision.
I humbly suggest, a few waif like white figures of dead women wafting by in the background, preferably wailing, would help to get across the maternal mortality rate from lack of abortion provision.
I assume they avoided doing this in case people thought the figures were for women who died as a direct result of abortion, like here, and here, and here, and here, and… ah, never mind.We don’t want to mention those, maybe no waif-like ghosts then. And after thinking about it, I guess no wailing either, it might sound like the cries of, y’know, the few babies who have been ‘uncreated’ by abortion.
How many? I don’t know, its about 1,352,359,683 to date in the world since 1980, but that figure leaps by about 60,000 per day so its anyone’s guess really. So, to conclude that idea, maybe no ghosts, and no wailing. Good call on leaving those out after all.
Maybe we could have a little teeny bit of antiquity, so people don’t think Amnesty is totally anti-history? How about having some still pictures in the foreground of Sean McBride and Peter Benenson and Eric Baker? Its would lend a little intellectual appeal to this otherwise dry and unsentimental ad. You’d have to try disassociate Amnesty from any of its founding principles of course, like being against torture and imprisonment for politics or religious belief.
We don’t need those ideas lingering around, Lord knows people might associate abortion with torture and abuse, or promotion of religious freedom with allowing Christians an uncensored voice. Sure we could have lost the last referenda here, both of them, if we had equal debate… considering the ad is taking the line that our Christian past is the source of the problem, we definitely need to separate McBride and Benenson and Baker from the current Amnesty agenda. They sully the whole thing with their unenlightened ideas.
But that’s ok, that’s ok – its do-able. Planned Parenthood have done it in the States, cutting their founder Margaret Sanger off from her racist, eugenic legacy and sterilising her (forgive the pun) enough to pop up a bust to her in the Smithsonian (despite her racist legacy and the protests of black pastors… no religious need object remember). And sure hey, Marie Stopes Intl have sanitised her too from her promotion of mandatory sterilisation of those deemed unfit for parenthood or suffering disease, and being a fan of Hitler and good ol’ Josef Mengele (he’d have loved the stats on down syndrome abortions, loved them). The Stopes International crew have done a stellar job reinventing her.
So yeah, I reckon we could reinvent McBride and Benenson and Baker as not being a Catholic, a convert, and a Quaker; lets make them feminists, but not real feminists who like women, make them the feminists who undo babies to solve problems (Amnesty are really on to something here, its like selling time travel, ‘you can go back to the way you were before, like you were never pregnant!’, which sells well, unless you’ve tried the product and realised you can’t actually go back in time, but there is no 30 day returns policy on abortion so its a win-win sale…) Definitely then, floating pictures of these three on the ad would be a distinct improvement, but only when we reinvent them.
I like the ruins of the church and the old spooky cross and the crumbly gravestone. All suitably fact laden.
Definitely appealing to logic and the mind, is Neeson’s hot smoky voice lending a little suave compassion to the woman who is clearly buried under that stone, with her child inside her. Because, you know, she couldn’t have an abortion. And abortion is a medical treatment is it not, to heal women? Ok I know its not their body that gets taken out (better not to say its someone else’s, that’s awkward) but still, it must in some miraculous though entirely non Catholic miraculous way heal the bigger body that the first body is lifted from. I don’t know, I get confused. Her body, baby’s body, they are separate, but one has a choice, the other doesn’t because its not old enough, its all a bit of a head wrecker. I’m sure there is a direct causal link between taking out the “baby” (remember to use inverted commas) and saving the mother, despite the two being different entities with their own organs and systems. I’ll just go with Amnesty on that one because I can’t think it through and I like Neeson’s voice.
The colour wash at the end is genius, because of course we are in for better days ahead, once Amnesty get abortion clinics opened here.
Then, we won’t have to have those tedious arguments with crazy pro-lifers about whether its a baby or not, when it reaches sentience, whether sentience is the measure of being human, etcetera etcetera etcetera (‘The King and I’ – love that quote), because we’ll have it, it’ll be here!!!! Woohoo! Freedom! (Thats the Mel Gibson one). And hey, we love freedom. What’s this Pope JP 2 said…. paraphrased slightly, ‘freedom is the liberty to do what we should, not what we want’. Oh no hold on, that isn’t a suitable quote, that doesn’t help. Its ok, I’ll make my own reality up: ‘freedom is the liberty to do what we want’. Yay! JP 2 was a Catholic anyway, and we don’t like them.So, to summarise, welcome to the world of non stats, non facts, black and white, Neeson narrated, Hollywoodesque, twisted up, emotion ridden, opinion directed, insult laden Republic of Amnesty. Where charities founded on principles of humanity, can wage war on little humans and women alike, and put out ads to people it reckons are too damn stupid to see past the daubed use of cinematic tools, monochrome, spooky music and mossy tombs. Nice one Amnesty. The intellectual rigour is dripping out of you. My kids do more subtle finger painting.
Can anyone tell I am angry and insulted? Are you surprised that I can be so glib about a subject that takes lives, women and babies both? Why are you surprised I can be glib, but not surprised that Amnesty can make such cowpat? You wonder where is the compassion in this post. What a heartless thing I am, to be sarky about women’s lives. Am I right? Well I can suffer with women, I can hear the difficulties and sorrow and trauma, but I can’t show compassion for Amnesty and the lie its peddling.
If Amnesty had an honest bone left in them, they would campaign for support services for women who suffer both prenatally and postnatally, with grants to help struggling women finance their pregnancies, medical support, mental health services, adoption strategies if the mother does not want to keep the baby, counselling services, practical help with places to stay and food on tables, an effective social services body giving uncritical help. Full pro-life support from conception till death, not beginning at 24 weeks gestation and ending at birth, with abortion preceding that and abandonment to IFPA counselling after it.
But all this is too much effort, doesn’t fit today’s world view where women’s rights are touted by the very institutions who make money from women in vulnerable circumstances.
This isn’t women’s rights. This isn’t compassion. Rights, are what we all have, not something one has over another. Compassion, is what would give rights where they are deserved, not withhold rights for some in favour of others. Compassion doesn’t provide a permanent solution like death for a temporary problem like pregnancy. It doesn’t visit the sins of rapist fathers or incestuous relatives upon the baby they create. Compassion has been hijacked and turned on its head. What you are looking at in this ad, isn’t compassion, its political correctness. Do not be confused. So if I sound uncompassionate, its because I’m angry that such a beautiful sentiment, that has seen women stand by women, and men stand by women, that has seen brave choices and truth stated and lives saved, has been taken by Amnesty and turned into a 2 minute cinematic farce in order to launch their bid (supported by multi-millions from abroad) to repeal the 8th Amendment.
I’m going to turn prophet, right here on this blog; if the 8th Amendment is repealed, it will happen with foreign money poured in here; it won’t be an independent decision at all.
Do you really think democratic results can’t be bought? If you have enough money, and enough big names, and stifle enough debate, they can indeed be bought. So don’t wonder where my compassion is. I have no compassion for Amnesty, no compassion for lies, no compassion for ending babies’ lives because they are deemed ‘less human’ (we’ve seen that argument in the past, but then Amnesty has it in for history so I guess we will be destined to repeat it). I have no compassion for the idea that because something is legal, it is right; nor the reversible reasoning that because its legal somewhere, it is right everywhere, and should be legal everywhere! Amnesty has clearly bankrupted its critical thinking skills in favour of beginner’s video lessons.I leave you with this, from Gianna Jesson. Gianna survived an attempted saline abortion in 1977, not the only baby to do so although survival is obviously rare. It meant she was then born premature and the saline solution caused her to have cerebral palsy. Nevertheless, she is alive, though she was never supposed to be. As she says herself “if abortion is about women’s rights, then what were mine?”
Elaine Haughian lives in Wicklow and is mum to five small children. She publishes her own blog at http://paintinginwhite.wordpre...