A Indonesian music video aimed at boosting support for a controversial ex-general running for the presidency has sparked anger after critics said it had Nazi overtones.
Rock star Ahmad Dhani and other singers performed an adaptation of British band Queen’s We Will Rock You, with lyrics supporting Prabowo Subianto for the July 9 poll in which he is facing frontrunner Joko Widodo.
But social media exploded with anger on Wednesday after critics noted Dhani was wearing a military uniform jacket identical to one often worn by Adolf Hitler’s henchman Heinrich Himmler.
Indonesian-born singer and songwriter Anggun Cipta Sasmi tweeted that the video had made her “shocked, disappointed and ashamed”.
“I pray that Indonesia does not descend into fascism.”
A Twitter user called frizedianto added Dhani wanted Prabowo to be a “Hitler-style” ruler – “fascist, intolerant and authoritarian”.
— Uncle B (@Renji_Blues) June 25, 2014
Even Queen guitarist Brian May waded into the row, insisting on Twitter the adaptation of the song was “completely unauthorised by us”.
However the Indonesian singer appeared unrepentant, telling news website Detik: “The Indonesian people were not involved in the killing of millions of Jews, right?”
The black jacket resembles one often worn by Himmler, head of the SS and Gestapo, with emblems on the lapels and red decoration on the breast pocket.
Prabowo’s campaign distanced itself from the song, with spokesman Tantowi Yahya saying: “This video is not a product of the campaign team.”
The furore reflected sensitivity about a potential Prabowo presidency.
He has previously admitted ordering the abduction of democracy activists in the dying days of the three-decade Suharto dictatorship in 1998, and has also been accused of human rights abuses in East Timor.
Despite concerns about his dark past, Prabowo has in recent weeks narrowed the gap against Widodo – who won legions of supporters during his time as Jakarta governor. A poll out Wednesday showed him only four per cent behind.