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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Indonesian Nazi-themed presidential campaign video causes outrage

JAKARTA, Indonesia - A Nazi-themed music video supporting a candidate in next month's Indonesian presidential election is causing outrage at home and abroad.

The video, "Indonesia Bangkit," or "Awakening Indonesia," is based on Queen's "We Will Rock You." It shows musician Ahmad Dhani wearing a fascist-style uniform and holding an Indonesian Garuda bird emblem that resembles the Nazis' imperial eagle.

According to the German news magazine Der Spiegel, the military costume is similar to the uniform worn by SS commander Heinrich Himmler.

The video was uploaded on YouTube as a campaign song for Prabowo Subianto, a former army general who has been accused of abducting pro-democracy activists in 1998 and instigating deadly riots.

Brian May, Queen's lead guitarist, has waded into the controversy, saying "of course this is completely unauthorized by us."

Asvi Warman Adam, a noted historian from the Indonesian Science Institute, said the video defiles Indonesia's state symbol, the Garuda bird.

"It is clear that Indonesia's Constitution opposes all kinds of fascism as done by Nazis in the past," he said.

Joshua Oppenheimer, the Oscar-nominated director of the documentary "The Act of Killing," about the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people across Indonesia in 1965-66 in the name of fighting communism, said the video "is not a clever foreign policy move for Prabowo, unless he really wants to alienate all of Europe — and the rest of the human community."

He added, however, that given Prabowo's background, "perhaps he doesn't care."

In an interview with American journalist Allan Nairn in 2001, Prabowo said Indonesia needed an "authoritarian regime" and indicated he was willing to be called a "fascist dictator."

The July 9 election pits Prabowo against Jakarta Gov. Joko Widodo.

Supporters of each candidate created campaign songs for them. Prabowo posted the video on his Facebook page and thanked Dhani and other artists for their support.



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