|© UNICEF Mexico/2012/Martinez|
|Eduardo Cabra Martínez (Visitante) and René Pérez Joglar (Residente), members of the group Calle 13, speak at the global launch of their video La Bala. With the tagline “Don’t let the bullet have the last word,” La Bala aims to become a global initiative against violence.|
By Tamar Hahn
MEXICO CITY, Mexico, 15 November 2012 - Last Thursday, Puerto Rican musical group Calle 13, led by stepbrothers René Pérez Joglar (Residente) and Eduardo Cabra Martínez (Visitante), launched their new music video, La Bala (The Bullet), a call for global awareness about gun violence, in a joint venture with UNICEF.
Bullet affects all lives it touches
Directed by Colombian filmmaker Simón Brand, and with the collaboration of various directors and videographers, the video was completed in 11 locations throughout the world.
“La Bala comes from the anger that I feel when I see how some people don’t value human life,” says Residente. “It's a precise, direct and realistic narration of a bullet’s path. I gave life to the object, making the bullet a character within the story and giving it the attributes of a cold-hearted killer.”
Avoiding clichéd imagery of blood and gore, the video is a piece of global installation art portraying the indiscriminate voyage of an invisible bullet, which, regardless of its final destination, has an impact on all the lives it touches along its path.
The invisible bullet travels through Argentina, California, Ecuador, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New York, Puerto Rico and Spain. The music, inspired by western cowboy films, coupled with the powerful lyrics, produces a compelling visual statement.
Raising global awareness
With the tagline “Don’t let the bullet have the last word,” La Bala aims to be much more than a single with a video and become a global initiative against violence.
UNICEF’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean joined the project to draw attention to the mounting levels of violence in the region and its devastating effects on children and adolescents.
“Children and teenagers are the most vulnerable to violence. Even if it does not harm them directly, it leaves lifelong emotional scars,” says UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Bernt Aasen. “That is why UNICEF is proud to be a part of this initiative that seeks to grab the public’s attention and generate a dialogue concerning this phenomenon that has reached epidemic proportions in our region.”
While homicide rates in most world regions have been declining since 1995, they have increased in the Central America and Caribbean subregions.
Addressing many forms of violence through education
Bullets are not the sole perpetrators of violence against children and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean. For many, violence comes in the form of sexual, emotional and physical abuse. La Bala will serve as an umbrella initiative under which UNICEF and Calle 13 will jointly organize activities in different countries to address the many forms of violence that affect children.
The logo for the initiative, a bullet that is transformed into a pencil, symbolizes the need for education as a central pillar in all strategies against violence. “We have to educate in order to eradicate violence,” says Residente. “And we need to provide opportunities for young people and messages that will help change behaviour patterns. As I say in one of the verses of La Bala, ‘When you read less, you fire more.’"