Lars Klevberg Teaches Media To Treat Everything From the Middle East As A Fake
DO you believe what you see coming from the Middle East? You should doubt it:
An online video that purported to show the heart-stopping moment when a small boy risked his life to rescue a little girl from gunfire in Syria has been exposed as an elaborate hoax. Lars Klevberg, 34, a Norwegian film director based in Oslo, admitted last night that he was behind the staged clip, which has been viewed more than five million times and prompted international headlines.
Mr Klevberg scripted the scene after watching news coverage of the conflict in Syria…
The 60-second video appears to show a Syrian street raked by gunfire. A boy, who looks no more than ten years old, tries to reach a girl of about the same age as she shelters from gunfire behind a burnt-out car.
Entitled “Syrian hero boy rescues girl in shootout”, the video then shows the boy falling dramatically within yards of the car, apparently feigning injury, before leaping forward and pulling the terrified young girl to safety. They then run, hand-in-hand, under heavy fire to shelter.
The children were actors.
Mr Klevberg said, adding that his purpose had been to urge “action on behalf of innocent children”.
What a guy:
Klevberg contacted the BBC and admitted that the video was not authentic, revealing that the footage had been filmed in May 2014, not in Syria but in Malta. The Oslo-based filmmaker said his team wanted to draw attention to the plight of children in war-torn Syria:
If I could make a film and pretend it was real, people would share it and react with hope. We shot it in Malta in May this year on a set that was used for other famous movies like Troy and Gladiator. The little boy and girl are professional actors from Malta. The voices in the background are Syrian refugees living in Malta…
By publishing a clip that could appear to be authentic we hoped to take advantage of a tool that’s often used in war; make a video that claims to be real. We wanted to see if the film would get attention and spur debate, first and foremost about children and war. We also wanted to see how the media would respond to such a video.
Well, if it confirms their prejudices, they lap it up without question.
The New York Daily News lapped it up:
Metro was iumpressed:
In the incredible clip, which was released by Syrian activist group Shaam News Network, the boy can be seen lying on the floor as bullets whip around him in a rubble-filled courtyard.
(Shaam – the second ‘a’ is silent.)
Josie Ensore told Telegraph readers:
The Telegraph cannot independently verify the footage but it is thought the incident took place in Yabroud – a town near the Lebanese border which was the last stronghold of the moderate Free Syrian Army. Experts tell the paper they have no reason to doubt its authenticity.
The final word is with Lars Klevberg, who says his fakery is justified:
File under: what did you do in the war, Las?