Monday, August 06, 2007


The Danish collective known as Surrend have made an art form out of an interesting idea. How do you criticize dictators right under their noses without getting caught by the censors? I have to admit that I might be their newest fan after reading about Surrend's latest escapade, which targeted Myanmar, the country still known as Burma to the rest of the world, and the leader of the ruling totalitarian military junta Than Shwe.

Surrend bought advertising space in the English language Myanmar Times to print what looked like a nondescript ad for Burmese tourism. Touting Burma's tropical sun, friendly people, and so on. At the bottom of the ad was written: "The Board of Islandic Travel Agencies Ewhsnahtrellik and the Danish Industry Besoeg Danmark". And what the hell is Ewhsnahtrellik? Why, that would be Killer Than Shwe when read backwards.

OK, so the idea of printing an insult backwards isn't particularly clever. Considering how tightly the Burmese press is monitored and censored for just these sorts of things, however, Surrend's accomplishment becomes a bit more impressive. I think it goes without saying that someone in the paper's advertising department is having a very long, uncomfortable talk with the police.

No comments: