INDONESIANS RELAXED ATTITUDE TO NAZI REGIME – There has to be something about certain countries in South East Asia that we in the West haven’t quite figured out.
Is it pure ignorance or are they deliberately attempting to bait Westerners into an all out diplomatic row?
The issue centers on the use of Nazi paraphernalia and even admiration for Adolf Hitler himself.
Over the last couple of weeks there have been a number of incidences where Adolf Hitler has been utilized and subsequently causes offense from foreigners in Thailand. The two most notable incidences were the KFC style fried chicken outlet, owned and operated by a Thai, who deemed it appropriate to rehash Colonel Sanders by transposing Hitler’s face on the body and topping it off by calling the outlet Hitler’s.
Whilst this was offensive enough it was nothing compared to the ignorance that Thailand’s supposedly top university got up to by allowing its graduating students to create a ‘Graduation Banner’ that depicted Adolf Hitler which graduating students would stand in front of, one by one with their graduation certificates, to have their photograph taken whilst giving the sieg hiel.
In a recent incident, some two hour flight from Bangkok in Bandung, Jakarta, a restaurant owner has deemed it appropriate to adorn the interior of his café with Hitler memorabilia.
The Indonesians have often had a relaxed attitude over offensive symbols which many have simply put down to the poor standards of education; this of course becomes apparent when you look at Thailand’s and Indonesia’s education system in which most enter and come out none the wiser due to inadequate levels of professional teachers.
The particular café in question is that of the Soldatenkaffee, owned by one Henry Mulyana. Not only does he have portraits of Hitler and the Nazi flag adorning his walls he also insists that his serving staff should dress in SS Uniforms; just to cap off the whole theme.
Henry openly acknowledges that his café has sparked much controversy since its opening in 2011 but this mainly comes from foreign visitors.
In what can be only perceived as pure and unadulterated ignorance Henry remarked to reporters that he didn’t feel that Adolf was such a bad guy and that the Nazis didn’t commit any crime other than murdering people which is simply a bi-product of war.
In Henry’s most startling synopsis he suggested that there was in fact no proof that the Nazis were responsible for the murder of 6 million Jews and it was likely to be Western propaganda in order to destabilize Nazi ideology.
It’s OK, you can lift your jaw off the table now. It appears incredulous to any person living in a society where education is seen as a priority for human development that this type of view could be taken.
We of course cannot and should not turn our backs on history as it is our very history that teaches us the mistakes and achievements made.
Should we simply ignore this level of ignorance and accept the fact that there are those countries and people who simply cannot or will not grasp the gravity of such offensive behaviour or should we demand that our diplomats march into the respective Ministers office and educate them to the error of their ways?
Indonesia, as with Thailand, rely heavily on tourism to sustain economic growth and if the respective Governments won’t do anything to stem the tide of what is clearly offensive then maybe we should take our tourist dollars elsewhere.
There is a lot more on this particular news article from Irrawaddy.org that makes extremely good reading with more insight to the problem – see irrawady.org.
Do you think World History should be taught in all classrooms around the world in order to give people a better understanding of what actually went on? Leave your comments below.