Queen, Nazism and Indonesian lyrics are a seemingly odd combination, but as election season heats up in the Southeast Asian country of a quarter billion, the possibilities are endless.
A music video with strong Nazi imagery intended as a tribute to presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto has caused quite a stir.
The video is an adaptation of the Queen classic chant “We Will Rock You,” but features singers in dark military uniforms instead of shaggy rockers in leather jackets and star-shaped shades.
One of the musicians, Ahmad Dhani, can be seen holding a golden Garuda — a mythical bird that serves as Indonesia’s emblem — that eerily resembles the German imperial eagle that became a common fixture in Nazi iconography.
According to Bali-based filmmaker Daniel Ziv, the video brings “Nazi skinhead imagery to Indonesian politics.”
German news magazine Der Spiegel noted that Dhani’s uniform is similar to the one worn by SS commander Heinrich Himmler.
Queen’s lead guitarist Brian May said, “Of course this is completely unauthorized by us.”
In spite of the criticism, Dhani, who is part Jewish, has no regrets. “What’s the connection between German soldiers and Indonesia?” he told Indonesian media Wednesday. “What’s the connection between German soldiers and Indonesian musicians? We, the Indonesian people, didn’t kill millions of Jewish people, right?”
Presidential elections are being held on July 9, and supporters of both candidates are using social media to charm young, urban voters. Dhani’s music video for Prabowo came out shortly after pop musicians who support rival candidate Joko Widodo released their own music video, “Two-Finger Salute.”
Prabowo took to Facebook Friday to thank Dhani and the other artists for their work, saying: “This video is boosting our fighting spirit!”
Nazi chic is a popular trend in Indonesia — a Nazi-themed café reopened in the city of Bandung just a few days ago — so its association with Prabowo, who was discharged from the Indonesian military in 1988 for kidnapping pro-democracy advocates, is perhaps not a leap for the strongman candidate and his constituents.