Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Is Invoking Hitler the Right Way to Fight the AIDS Epidemic?
Germany's latest AIDS-awareness commercial evokes some strong emotions: shock, disgust, nausea. And that's exactly the point. The controversial ad, which was released online on Sept. 3 and starts running on German TV on Wednesday, shows a couple having steamy sex in a dimly lit room with menacing music playing in the background. The viewer only sees the back of the man's head until the very end, when the camera pans to his face — to reveal that he's Adolf Hitler. Then the slogan flashes across the screen: "AIDS is a mass murderer."
It's a strong message, but HIV/AIDS organizations in Germany are arguing over whether it's the right one. Rainbow, the AIDS awareness group spearheading the campaign — which also includes newspaper ads and posters featuring the images of other dictators like Stalin and Saddam Hussein — says it deliberately wants to provoke people, especially young Germans, into using condoms to help prevent the spread of HIV. "We want to give this terrible virus a face," Jan Schwertner, spokesman for Rainbow, tells TIME. "AIDS is a forgotten issue in Germany. It's been swept under the carpet. This shock campaign is necessary to get people thinking again."
Read the rest at Time.
Read an item about this on ABC News.
Read commentary by Shawn Syms on xtra.ca
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