Indonesian Political Video Raises Eyebrows With Nazi Iconography

Clip in support of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, a cover of Queen's 'We Will Rock You,' features musician Ahmad Dhani donning what appears to be an SS jacket.

Less than a week after a Nazi-themed café opened in Indonesia's capital, a music video in support of Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto has raised eyebrows due to its use of Nazi iconography.

In the video, a cover of Queen's "We Will Rock You," musician Ahmad Dhani dons what appears to be an SS jacket, while singing: "Prabowo-Hatta! Rise up Indonesia!” with his bandmates, attired in more-or-less harmless outfits. According to Der Spiegel, the uniform is similar the one worn by SS commander Heinrich Himmler, complete with the same emblem on the lapel and red breast-pocket lining.

The Indonesian social media sphere was outraged by the video. Indonesian-born singer and songwriter Anggun Cipta Sasmi tweeted that she was "shocked, disappointed and ashamed," by the video, and prayed that "Indonesia does not descend into Fascism," AFP reported.

The video has reached the attention of Brian May, Queen's lead guitarist, who tweeted in response that it was "completely unauthorized" by the band.

Dhani, who oddly enough is part Jewish, did little to allay concerns about the video's imagery, choosing to respond somewhat cryptically: "What’s the connection between German soldiers and Indonesia? What’s the connection between German soldiers and Indonesian musicians? We, the Indonesian people, didn’t kill millions of Jewish people, right?” he told Indonesian media, cited by Time Magazine.

Prabowo Subianto, the presidential candidate and subject of the video, was appreciative of Dhani's gesture, thanking the musician over his Facebook page. "This video is boosting our fighting spirit!” he said.  

Former general Prabowo, who polls have shown has managed to increase his support ahead of the July 9 election, has raised concerns for his murky past, including the abduction of pro-democracy activists in 1998, for which he was discharged from the military.

Prabowo, who made a habit of appearing on campaign rallies astride a horse before an honor guard, has said in the past that Indonesia needed a “benign authoritarian regime,” and expressed his admiration for Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf.

“Do I have the guts, am I ready to be called a fascist dictator? Musharraf had the guts,” he told American journalist Allan Nairn in a 2001 interview, which Nairn has reposted in his blog over the weekend.