Indonesian Shop Owners Arrested for Selling “Communist” Kreator Merch
One of the most pervasive lies about metal is that it spreads some kind of moral or behavioral sickness, causing our children to become leather-jacket clad psychos who loudly declare a love of sex, violence, and wanton destruction (rather than become an upstanding suit-and-tie clad member of society who very quietly fetishizes sex and violence while causing wanton destruction). This bullshit has caused countless artists to be censored and those who sell their merchandise to be mistreated over a misguided sense of moral evangelism.
The latest case of this happened in Indonesia, where the owners of the More Shop in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, were arrested for selling a Kreator shirt featuring the cover of their album At The Pulse of Kapitulation: Live In East Berlin 1990 on it. The issue? That the shirt featured a hammer and sickle, symbol of the long-prohibited Indonesia Communist Party, or PKI. The worry was that the symbol might cause the spread of communism among the youth of Jakarta.
The shirt in question can be seen in the center of the top row of the photo below:
Kebayoran Baru police chief Ary Purwanto said the following:
“At the moment, [the shop owners are] just being questioned. There is no indication of treason. According to the suspects, they didn’t know it was the PKI symbol [on the t-shirts].”
Look, to be fair, communism is an especially tough subject in Indonesia. In 1965, between 500,000 to one million people were killed in the Indonesian massacre, in which communists, leftists, and their believed supporters were blamed for a failed coup by the army, and were hunted down and purged en masse. So the hammer and sickle is probably considered dicey territory.
Then again, Kreator’s use of the hammer and sickle atop a wall is most likely an anti-communist symbol, given that it’s representing the band’s show in East Berlin the year that the Berlin Wall fell. And that aside, do the Indonesian authorities really believe that by witnessing a hammer and sickle, Indonesians will be automatically brainwashed into communism? That’s not how imagery works–you don’t learn a philosophy simply by witnessing its symbols. Indonesia’s president is a metalhead--one would assume he’s aware that violent symbols do not necessarily stand for dark philosophies.
Hopefully, the shop owners will be released without any punishment other than having the Kreator shirts taken away. But for the record, if you rock that Kreator album cover on a shirt, be careful if you decide to go to Indonesia. Just pack one of the shirts with piles of corpses or Christ-raping devils on it–you know, something morally sound that promotes good cultural values.