Thai officials are describing a situation in which Nazi symbols briefly appear in an official government film as a “misunderstanding,” according to a report from the Associated Press.
The film, produced by the Thai military government to encourage “12 core values,” shows a grinning schoolboy painting an image of Hitler and a swastika to applause from his classmates. The film is part of a campaign introduced by the military junta shortly after their coup in May in an effort to return “happiness” to the people. The 12 values focus on traditional Thai culture, ranging from upholding the monarchy to respecting parents and understanding “democratic ideals.”
The video also contains scenes of children catching butterflies, conducting chemistry experiments, and practicing karate.
The film has been subject to criticism on social media and was condemned by the Israeli Embassy in Bangkok as problematic and offensive.
A senior official from the prime minister’s office has commented that the image would be removed from future screenings of the film. He explains that the image of the boy painting Hitler and the swastika is meant to compare the rebellious boy’s mother to a dictator. The video, though, provides no further context to make that meaning clear.
The official also stated that he thought the film was good and that the film campaign would continue without the Nazi symbols.