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07 October 2006

Hitler Promotes Brazilian Dentist

A picture of a smiling Adolf Hitler popped up on billboards rented by a chain of dental clinics a few days ago in the Brazilian capital. The Nazi leader was chosen from a list of figures well-known throughout the world in order to advertise for the dental clinics under the slogan, "A smile can change the world". The Ads were removed later on after complaint from Israel's ambassador to Brazil.
Source: Ynet News

You sure still remember the Danish Cartoons crisis. And I am really confused now, what is the difference between the two cases. Why does the Israeli ambassador has the right to ask the Brazilians to remove those ads as they see them offending!? If it is all about free speech, then I think the Brazilians would have the right to keep the ads, but this was not the case!?

May be I am from the Middle East where we don't know what free speech really is, and that's why I'd like the western readers of this blog to help me understand the differneces between the two cases.

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  1. Thank you for visiting your blog and I am adding you to my bloglist. When I have time, I will spend time reading it. I am studying Arabic right now (this is a huge goal) but I would like to read some of the Koran in Arabic, and I have a yearning to go to the Middle East, crazy probably for an American. I may wait until the Bush years pass. I have a poster that made me think of yours with all the big dictators/blooddrinkers of the past century: Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Bush. We live in scary times.

  2. He he...well allow me to help you, living in the ghurba as it were: One rule for one and another for others.
    Also just to say to enemy of the republic: People in the Middle east are able to differentiate between administrations and people, when i went to syria many of my friends were american, british, even jewish and people were very friendly and welcoming. In fact the fact that you show interest in the region will make you more of a star in many people's eyes!

  3. Good post Tarek. The difference is that Israel has interests with the west (governments and institutions and media etc) while Arabs and Muslims do not have the same. Besides, most (really most) westerners, when a similar crisis arise, they rush to re-produce the invented picture of the east and Islam. Without much thinking and comparing they repeat claims of free speech and the rest of the list as you know. thanks for sharing your reading and thought, and allow me to link this post because it is closely related to the line of my blog.

  4. @Enemy: Thanks for visiting my blog. I put Hitler poster her not to show sympathy with him nor to say that he is a hero or so. Sure he was a murderer and dictator, but I want to say why it's the Israelis right to ban some Ads in Brazil coz they have a photo of someone they dislike, while it is not accepted for muslims to be mad coz of some cartoons in a Danish paper mocking our most sacred symbol Prophet Muhammad. If it is all about free speech, then I think the Brazilian dentists had the right to use Hitler's photo, or whoever they want.

    @Arima, it's nice to see one of my favorite bloggers reading what I post here.

    @Mukhtar, you are right, it's interests and double standards. And of course you can post it, it's my pleasure.

  5. It's not about "free speech:, It's about the double standards that we always encounter.

  6. @Nesrina. You're right, it's about double standards in some way. But there is only one way to resolve the problem: Free speech for all - and not caring for those who have a certain 'feeling of being insulted'. Regards, Guenter


  8. There is no difference. Poor taste and bad judgement are covered under free speech.

  9. haram aleik ya tarek...wala hatkabir rasee :)

  10. This is how the bigotry is amazing. No one is allowed to question the holocaust and they throw you in jail if you do but, you can insult a prophet.

  11. From your article: "The owner was surprised by the telephone conversation. He apologized, admitted that he made a mistake and gave instructions to immediately remove the advertisements."

    Do you truly want to know the difference?

    Newspapers exist to make money, mostly by selling ads, which they can get more money for if they have a large readership. They get the readership by being shocking, even offensive, so that people will look at their stuff. All they need to make money is for people to look at their papers.

    The dental clinic, on the other hand, won't get money from people looking at their ad. If the ad shocks and offends people so that they don't go to the clinic, it's counterproductive. Hence the owner's voluntary removal of the ad when he was asked to do so.

    You can always ask that something that offends you be withdrawn. That doesn't mean people have to do it, of course. The boycotts against the advertisers in the Danish newspapers were perfectly reasonable and were the time-honored way of responding to that sort of thing. Boycotts against everything Danish was perhaps a bit excessive, though, and the violence certainly was.

    You talk about the dental clinic's right to use the Hitler photo. Of course it was his right to do so. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should, and that includes the Danish newspaper that printed the cartoons.

    As for being thrown in jail for questioning the holocaust - I only know of that being the case in Austria. Is it the case in Egypt? It sure isn't here in the USA.