Anti-Bush Statement Backfires in Germany Film Director in Trouble Over Swastika T-Shirt

Criticizing US President George W. Bush is fine in Germany, but doing so by displaying the Nazi swastika is a crime, and it's got film director Fatih Akin in trouble with the German authorities.

Police in the northern city of Hamburg are investigating award-winning Turkish-German film director Fatih Akin, 32, for wearing an anti-Bush T-shirt bearing the word "Bush" in which the letter "s" was replaced by the swastika.

Displaying Nazi symbols is a crime in Germany. He wore the T-shirt on a film set and an unnamed man who saw the photo of it in the newspaper filed a complaint with the police.

German-born Akin, who is of Turkish descent, told SPIEGEL: "Bush's policy is comparable with that of the Third Reich. I think that under Bush, Hollywood has been making certain films at the request of the Pentagon to normalise things like torture and Guantanamo. I'm convinced the Bush administration wants a third world war. I think they're fascists."

Asked why he was using the swastika to make a political statement in Germany of all countries, he said: "You can apply irony to something like that. You can redefine the symbol in a politically correct horizon. My T-shirt is more than mere provocation."

Akin's film "Gegen die Wand," ("Head On" in Britain and the United States), about a Turkish woman who flees her strict Muslim home, won the Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2004.


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