Thailand University Apologizes Over Hitler Promoting BillboardBy Staff Reporter, UniversityHerald Reporter
Chulalongkorn University, one of Thailand's premier universities, has apologized for a huge billboard that displayed Adolf Hitler among a host of comic book superheroes. The university officials stated that the large mural was painted by innocent freshman art students who weren't aware of the genocidal Nazi leader's significance.
The billboard was hung outside the art faculty of the Bangkok University as a part of a traditional farewell celebration from incoming students to this year's graduating class.
The billboard read, 'Congratulations' in bold white letters that showed Hitler with his arm raised in a Nazi salute next to Batman, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man. The superheroes were painted in bright colors, while Hitler's image was painted grey. Graduating students imitated Hitler's raised arm salute.
The billboard was one of the dozen banners exhibited across the campus during the university's commencement period.
"(We) would like to formally express our sincere apology for our students' 'Superhero' mural," art, Suppakorn Disatapundhu, the school dean of the faculty of the fine arts said. "I can assure you we are taking this matter very seriously."
"I will explain to the students involved and this will be a lesson for others that this man caused tragedy in the world," Disatapundhu said.
It was displayed only for two days before being removed Saturday after facing criticism.
Suppakorn said that through this billboard, the students actually wanted to convey that good and bad people co-exist in the world.
"They told me the concept was to paint a picture of superheroes who protect the world," the dean said. "Hitler was supposed to serve as a conceptual paradox to the superheroes. This kind of thoughtless display will not happen again."
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights group, expressed discontent over the banner prior to its removal.
"Hitler as a superhero? Is he an appropriate role model for Thailand's younger generation - a genocidal hate monger who mass murdered Jews and Gypsies and who considered people of color as racially inferior," Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the center, said. "The Simon Wiesenthal Center is outraged and disgusted by this public display at Thailand's leading school of higher education."
Usually, history syllabus at the Thai school system revolves primarily around Thailand and its long line of kings. World history is just plainly glanced over.