Friday, September 21, 2012

Time to overcome revolutionary icons of violence and hatred

We need to nonviolently confront them and take the offensive.

MLK Jr. poster on sale at

 Thor Halvorssen, the founder of The Human Rights Foundation, has written an open letter to Ted Marlow, the CEO of Urban Outfitters regarding their Che Guevara merchandise. It is an excellent analysis of why it is not only a bad marketing strategy but also immoral.

Aung San Suu Kyi T-Shirt by Cafe Press on Amazon

However, it is not only the promotion of a deceased mass killer who never renounced violence that is disturbing but the absence of positive icons such as Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Vaclav Havel, Aung San Suu Kyi and many others who made the world a better place using nonviolent means, respecting and defending human rights and dignity. It is troubling that some around the world want to celebrate a man who committed acts of mass violence that did not make things better but fail in honoring those did.

Mohandas Gandhi t-shirt on sale at Amazon
What kind of message is Urban Outfitters sending to the youth market?  Celebrating icons of violence while ignoring those who made contributions to humanity using nonviolent resistance is a disservice to the future.

Symbol of Polish Solidarity Movement
 In addition to boycotting Urban Outfitters which is a necessary but negative action one should also encourage taking positive action and purchasing posters and t-shirts to celebrate and market those heroes who have made the world a better place. Above and below are t-shirts and posters that can be purchased online that do just that. Time to go on the offensive with nonviolence. There are powerful icons of nonviolence that need to be remembered, honored and taught to new generations.

Hopefully, Urban Outfitters will reconsider promoting a hateful symbol and join in marketing icons who made a difference for the better. In the meantime the following are already available online.

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