Shalom Life | June 27, 2014

Nazi-Infused Music Video Causing Furor In Indonesian Politics

Tribute to Presidential candidate filled with Nazi imagery, overtones

By: J.S. Côté

Published: June 25th, 2014 in News » World

A music video tribute to Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto with strong Nazi overtones has caused outrage following its release.

The video, described as bringing “Nazi skinhead imagery to Indonesian politics” by Bali-based filmmaker Daniel Ziv, is, according to Queen's lead guitarist Brian May, a completely unauthorized adaptation of Queen's classic “We Will Rock You”. It features musician Ahmad Dhani sporting a fascist-style uniform and holding a golden Garuda, a mythical bird used as Indonesia's emblem which, against the black of his paramilitary garb, looks disturbingly like the German imperial eagle used in Nazi iconography.

German news magazine Der Spiegel pointed out that Dhani's uniform in the video is strikingly similar to the one worn by infamous SS commander Heinrich Himmler. “Dhani wears the same emblem on the lapel and the same red breast-pocket lining,” the article said Tuesday, including a side-by-side photo comparison of the two.


Though Nazi chic is not entirely uncommon in Indonesia and other parts of Asia, it is rather telling that such fascist imagery is being used to raise support for Prabowo, who was discharged from the military in 1998 after the abduction of pro-democratic activists.

Dhani, who is himself partly Jewish, is unrelenting despite the widespread criticism coming from his fellow Indonesian musicians. “What's the connection between German soldiers and Indonesia?” he commented to media on Wednesday. “What's the connection between German soldiers and Indonesian musicians? We, the Indonesian people, didn't kill millions of Jewish people, right?”

With the July 9 election rapidly approaching, the campaign has been heating up, with supporters of both presidential candidates using the power of social media to appeal to younger, urban voters. Dhani's music video tribute to Prabowo was released soon after pop musicians Oppie Andaresta and rockers Slank created their own song and video called “Two-Finger Salute” in support of rival candidate Joko Widodo.

American journalist Allan Nairn recently posted an 2001 interview with Prabowo in which he stated that Indonesia needed “a benign authoritarian regime.” The former general made his admiration toward Pakistan's then ruler Pervez Musharraf and told Nairn: “Do I have the guts, am I ready to be called a fascist dictator? Musharraf has the guts.”

Prabowo thanked Dhani and other singers for their contributions on his Facebook page on Friday, saying: “This video is boosting our fighting spirit!”

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