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Jakarta Post

Nazi-inspired rocker hurts Prabowo'€™s bid

  • Ina Parlina and Margareth S. Aritonang

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, June 26, 2014   /  09:06 am
Nazi-inspired rocker hurts Prabowo'€™s bid Ahmad Dhani: (Courtesy of

Ahmad Dhani: (Courtesy of

The presidential campaign team of the Gerindra Party'€™s Prabowo Subianto had to face the music on Wednesday following the circulation of a tribute video that many said promoted Nazism.

The campaign video has caused an international uproar with major news outlets in the West, including Germany'€™s news magazine Der Spiegel, weighing in on how far the creator of the video, rock musician Ahmad Dhani, had promoted Nazism.

In the video, which was a rip-off of the British band Queen'€™s classic hit '€œWe Will Rock You'€, Dhani dons black paramilitary attire and holds a golden Garuda '€” Indonesia'€™s national emblem '€” which looks like the German imperial eagle.

Der Spiegel pointed out that Dhani'€™s military costume was similar to the uniform worn by SS commander Heinrich Himmler. '€œDhani wears the same emblem on the lapel and the same red breast-pocket lining,'€ it said on Tuesday, comparing photos of the two in a photo gallery.

Queen guitarist Brian May joined the fray by sending a tweet saying that the song had won no approval from him. '€œOf course this is completely unauthorized by us.'€

When the video was first uploaded on Prabowo'€™s official Facebook page, the presidential candidate thanked Dhani and the other performers in the video, namely Indonesian Idol winner Nowela Elizabeth Auparay and fellow Idol contestant Husein Alatas. Dhani is a judge on the Idol TV show.

Dhani, who is partly Jewish, however, said that he had been misunderstood.

'€œIf I wear a Star of David then regular folks will call me a Zionist and when I wear a Nazi uniform then these same folks will call me a fascist ['€¦] Once a simpleton, always a simpleton,'€ Dhani said in a tweet sent to his 1.35 million followers on Twitter.

Fellow musicians have responded to the video with outrage.

Indonesian-born, Paris-based singer-songwriter Anggun criticized Dhani for being insensitive, saying in a tweet that she was '€œshocked, disappointed, ashamed and sad'€ at seeing Dhani sporting Himmler'€™s attire.

'€œWearing the uniform of Hitler'€™s confidant reminds people about the brutality [of the Nazi regime] and brings back pain to the millions of victims'€™ families,'€ she said. '€œI pray for Indonesia that it won'€™t fall into fascism!'€

Musician Glenn Fredly said Dhani had made a fool of himself and the whole country.

'€œIf you want to use the presidential election to get attention, well you have just succeeded! Succeeded in humiliating yourself,'€ he said.

An Indonesian living in Frankfurt, Prihantini, said she was ashamed about what Dhani had done.

'€œAs an Indonesian living in Germany, it pains me to see how some people choose to ignore certain things in the world because I sincerely believe that it'€™s not simply ignorance. They are too educated to be stupid,'€ she told The Jakarta Post. '€œMass killing is not cool, whoever the perpetrators and the victims were.'€

When asked about the video, a spokesman for Prabowo'€™s campaign team, Tantowi Yahya, said that the team had nothing to do with the video.

'€œThat'€™s purely his [Dhani'€™s] creativity. An artist must think outside of the box; if you don'€™t do that then you are [just like] regular folk,'€ Tantowi said.

Political observer Ray Rangkuti called for the removal of the video from YouTube, saying that '€œit could lead other nations to think that people in the country had endorsed crimes against humanity'€.

As of Wednesday evening, two YouTube links posted by Dhani from his Twitter account had been removed, though copies of the video had already gone viral.

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