Czech Republic: Bizarre attack on Scottish rock band Primal Scream

25 March 2009
In a bizarre and surrealistic media storm in the Czech Republic, the Scottish rock band Primal Scream has been accused for ‘promoting fascism’ by the Czech Radio Council. The council has banned the song ‘Swastika Eyes’.
       Primal Scream

According to an article written by Peter G Holland and published by Instigator Media Group in Prague, the accusations are based on a “woeful mistranslation of the lyrics to Swastika Eyes, skewed either by incompetence or design to give the song a celebratory rather than condemnatory meaning.”

According to Holland, it was discovered that the translation in fact formed “part of a larger dossier on the evils of alternative music, commissioned by the Czech Radio Council, the national body for broadcasting standards in public radio from their “expert” analyst of contemporary youth culture.”

Holland writes that the socalled ‘expert’ is a middle-aged Moscow-educated economist and lobbyist with no background in either culture or radio, and those parts of his report which are on public record make intriguing reading for music fans. Particular standouts are comments on how hip hop “advocates revolution” and goths promote ‘intolerance of Christianity’.

Primal Scream — known for their left-wing, anti-authoritarian stance and active involvement in anti-racist activity — wrote the song as an explicit critique of ‘parasitic, syphilitic’ politicians who pay lip service to democracy but have totalitarian intentions clearly visible in their ‘swastika eyes’.

Apartheid similarities
The whole case reminds of a situation during the apartheid regime in South Africa, where the South African Broadcasting Corporation banned Pink Floyd’s song ‘The Wall’ with a similar argument: that the music was promoting ‘fascism’. The broadcasting corporation was applying 13 different rules of censorship to music at the time. The real reason for the SABC ban was that young black kids in Soweto substituted the lines ‘We don’t need no education’ with ‘We don’t want your education’ as a protest against the so-called bantu education.

According to observers in the Czech Republic the attacks on the song by Primal Scream can be seen in a larger perspective — a range of “recent controversies surrounding the Radio Council, all of which are related to attempts to close or marginalise non-profit stations.”


Sources – 24 March 2009:

‘Hammer And Sickle Eyes: Music Censorship In The Czech Republic’

Spinearth – 20 March 2009:

‘Music censorship in the Czech Republic, and the wider crisis of post-communist democracy’


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