Friday, 29 May 2015

History Soon Forgets

This picture is from an advertising campaign run by a Chinese Smart-phone manufacturer, LeTV ..... Obviously it features Adolf Hitler, with Apple's logo in the place of a swastika on his armband. 

LeTV Hitler Advert ....

After complaints by mainly western organisations they eventually apologised for using an image that was "insensitive and wrong", and changed it, but in reality, they, like most of the non western just don't get it.

However far from being offended, what interested me about the story was how it actually speaks volumes about how Eurocentric is our view of how the world should see its history. The truth is that Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, The Kaiser, Churchill, World Wars I and II, and in fact most of European history .... is just that, 'European' history, to the rest of the world.

In China, Asia, Africa, the Middle East  and sundry other places, even if this meant something once, (usually during the 'colonial era', or when European armies were or are fighting over their lands), it hasn't meant anything for decades. In fact as most of these parts of the world have populations where more than 50% of the populace are under 30 years of age, then these events and characters are vague myths at best.

Of course, Chinese Companies are not the only bad taste offenders .....

Rasayana Anti-Stress Tea and Onida Non Reflective TV's

 .... as these examples from Turkish and Indian Ad-Agencies illustrate.

So they just don't get it when we kick off about their using these characters in adverts ... and neither do we understand, or try to understand, their bafflement at our complaints (what difference between using the image of Adolf Hitler or Genghis Khan in an advert?). Actually, an explanation of their bafflement is quite simple ..... much of the world sees the world wars (including the Holocaust) etc, as just events of 'white men's wars'.

Of course none of this excuses an Italian agency coming up with this advert for a teens clothing line in Palermo Sicily in 2010.

Cambia Style Clothing In Sicily

..... History soon forgets, even in places where it shouldn't.

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