Controversial Banksy viral using citizen video from Syria

My wife is a fine art academic and I am an academic with an interest in social media and international development, so I thought we could have a good critical debate about the content of this video which has had over 4 million views in two days. However, there was no real discussion, we both agreed almost immediately that this video trivializes a horrendous war in a humourous way. As one of the comments says “Pretty pointlessly offensive”.

Our first thoughts were, is it really Banksy, but this was confirmed by looking at his official website www.banksy.co.uk. In true Banksy style he hasn’t commented on his work.

The blog Witness, which focuses on citizen journalism and video for change, describes the video as “an absurdist remix of Syrian citizen video, the Disney character, Dumbo and what appears to be a dramatic reenactment.” They have also tracked down some of the original footage and audio.

Around 80% of people ‘like’ the video and it has garnered hundreds of comments, many of which are offensive. Banksy has rightly gained a large following for effectively using wit in his art for political awareness. Has his mis-judged it this time, or are we missing something?