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A Mozambique surfwear retailer thought is was a good idea to name their store “Hitler”—Netizens disagreed

Hitler's name on fashion clothing store in Maputo | Photo used with permission of the author

A clothing store in Mozambique's capital Maputo that displayed Nazi iconography removed both its name and logo after it drew angry reactions on Facebook between October 21 and 22, 2018.

The “Hitler” store, which seems to have been in business since early October, is located in one of the largest shopping centers in the country — the Maputo Shopping Center, in a busy area of downtown Mozambican capital, near the office of the prime minister and other state buildings.

On October 20, Facebook user Fernanda Lobato posted a photo of the store's window, which displayed the Nazi swastika:

Loja com o nome HITLER e com a soástica estampada no vidro da loja. Maputo Shopping. Como permitem este ultraje?

Store with the name HITLER and with the swastika stamped on the window. Maputo Shopping. How can they allow this disgrace?

Hitler's name on fashion clothing store in Maputo | Photo used with permission of the author

The publication quickly received many reactions and comments. Sara Lopes, whose profile says she resides in Maputo, wrote:

Eu nem entrava nessa [censurado] de loja! Mas quem é o imbecil que abre uma loja dessas com uma conotação tão racista e de um homem que defende a supremacia da raça ariana quando nem ele mesmo o era?

I did not even go into that [censored] (sic) store! But who is the imbecile who opens such a shop with a racist connotation and a man who defendend the supremacy of the Aryan race when he is not that himself?

The rapper, social activist and Mozambican lawyer Ivete Marlene says that the store has insulted humanity and that the Mozambican State, through the Public Prosecutor's Office, should act:

Um Estado com uma Constituição como a nossa não deveria nunca permitir isto! O que o fascismo fez com os negros? Quais eram os ideais do Hitler para Africa? Acima de tudo, o que Hitler fez a raça humana? As respostas a estas perguntas deveriam ser fundamento bastante para repudiar essa ideia comercial… Na verdade, essa loja é um insulto a nossa liberdade, moçambicanidade e nossa história por representar discriminação e genocídio a todas as raças em benefício e supremacia da raça ariana… A PGR [Procuradoria Geral da República] tem espaço para actuar aqui…não podemos aderir a Declaração Universal de Direitos Humanos por via da constituição e permitir isto de glorificar o maior genocida do mundo…

A State with a Constitution like ours should never allow such a thing! What did fascism do with the blacks? What were Hitler's ideals for Africa? Above all, what did Hitler do to the human race? The answers to these questions should be sufficient grounds to repudiate this commercial idea… In fact, this store is an insult to our freedom, Mozambicanity and our history for representing discrimination and genocide to all races for the benefit and supremacy of the Aryan race… The PGR [Attorney General] has room to act here… we can not adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights through our constitution and allow the glorification of the greatest genocider in the world…

Possibly following reports on the shop's Facebook page, the platform seemed to have blocked it.

The post seems to have produced concrete effects in the real world too. Two days after the original publication, the store's owners removed its name and symbols from the windows. Fernanda Lobato has sent this update:

Amigos, estou sem palavras (….) O nome da loja com o nome Hitler foi apagado. O símbolo da suástica foi apagado. Viva o Estado de Direito Democrático. Viva os Direitos Humanos. Parabéns a todos nós que nos indignamos com esta situação. Fico feliz por o meu país não admitir que símbolos que dignifiquem atrocidades efectuadas à Humanidade se perpectuem aqui. E viva as Redes Sociais, que usadas para o bem, conseguem chamar a atenção contra atos contra os Direitos Humanos.

Friends, I'm speechless (…) The name of the store with the name Hitler has been deleted. The swastika symbol has been deleted. Long live the Human Rights. Congratulations to all of us who are outraged by this situation. I am happy that my country does not admit that symbols that dignify atrocities done to Humanity are perpectuenced here. Long live to the Social Networks, which used for good, can draw attention to acts against Human Rights.

Sociologist Edgar Cubaliwa called for a boycott of the shop regardless of the removal of the name and symbols as a way to demonstrate the eternal disavowal:

O nome e os símbolos foram apagados. Celebremos. Contudo, podemos continuar a mandar o recado para os donos: näo esquecemos…. O Nazismo saiu dos vidros mas não saiu da mente, do coração, da alma dos proprietários. E pessoas, não alimentem os discursos de desconhecimento de história por parte destes neonazistas. Esses fascistas conhecem muito bem a história, sabem o que fazem. Esse é o lado que escolheram. Agora cabe a nós sermos ou não aliados deles. Boicote.

The name and symbols have been erased. Let's celebrate. However, we can continue to send the message to the owners: we do not forget… Nazism came out of the glass but it did not leave the mind, the heart, the soul of the owners. And people, do not feed this discourse of ignorance by those neo-Nazis. Those fascists know the history very well, they know what they do. This is the side they have chosen. Now it's up to us to be allies of them or not. Boycott.

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