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Belarus declares Rammstein an enemy of the state
An archive picture of Rammstein singer Till Lindemann. Photo: DPA

Belarus declares Rammstein an enemy of the state

Published: 23 Feb 2010 10:29 GMT+01:00

The country’s Morality Council announced on Monday that the Berlin-based group’s songs were propaganda for “violence, masochism, homosexuality and other perversions” that could “destroy the Belarusian state order.” The official opprobrium calls into question a planned concert in the capital Minsk on March 7.

The Belarusian moral authorities said “permission for a Rammstein concert is a mistake that can cost us greatly” and that the band would have to have its set list approved ahead of time in order to prevent “extremism” and to ensure the “dignity” the venue.

Belarusian critics of the Morality Commission say it has been used to limit freedom of expression since it was set up in 2009. President Alexander Lukaschenko’s regime in the former Soviet republic has also been dubbed “Europe’s last dictatorship” and Minsk frequently rages against alleged Western meddling in its affairs.

Members of Rammstein did not immediately comment on the official disapproval from Belarus, but the band is no stranger to controversy.

Rammstein’s latest album was banned from sale to minors in Germany in November due to its sexually charged lyrics and artwork allegedly inciting sadomasochistic violence.

The country's youth media watchdog the BPjM expressed particular concern over the song “Ich tu dir weh,” or “I'll Hurt You,” and a picture in the album booklet showing a seated man about to hit a naked woman. According to deputy BPjM chairwoman Petra Meier, the album promotes unsafe sex and portrays sexuality and power in a sadomasochistic manner.

The video for Rammstein's first single on the album, “Pussy,” featured fully pornographic scenes of band members having sex. However, the musicians say their provocative material is meant to have a cartoonish satiric edge.

For example, the lyrics “Blitzkrieg mit dem Fleischgewehr,” or “Blitzkrieg with the meat-gun,” in “Pussy” are meant to be a thinly veiled criticism of German sex tourism.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

11:37 February 23, 2010 by Anasian
Well, whatever critics can say about Belarus , I have to agree with the Belarusian authorities regarding such a band like this. The problem with the West is that the freedom of speech has been hijacked by such perverse people such as these amoral(I'd say immoral) people in "Rammstein" to promote a perverted sexual lifestyle. Being a person who has great esteem for the Europe of the past(its great culture and history, its great intellectual accomplishments) I can only lament the moral degenracy of the present Europe and the Western world in particular. With pornography, amoral and Godless humanism in the West so heavily promoted by the Entertainment Industry and the Mass media, who wouldn't be surprised with the wild behaviour of the youths of today? Daily stimuli of the perverse and sexual lust by these people who call themselves 'artists' and why would anyone wonder about the destruction of family values, latch-key kids, drug-culture, social disintegration, paedophilia, heinous violent crimes etc.? I think one must not take 'freedom' too dogmatically. The presence of laws mean a restrain on certain freedoms! The word 'freedom' is so abused by the West(just like the word 'love') that it is used for propaganda purposes by so-called 'liberals' and its real meaning may not be as 'black and white' nor as clear as their propagandists paint it to be. A rich West that is morally bankrupt is what such bands like Rammstein had succeeded in their 'endeavour'. Of course these pernicious lifestyle has also infected the youth in my side of the world and we have become just as morally bankrupt as the West - we are 'morally' comparable but materially poor. The Belarusians are right in castigasting Rammstein.
12:09 February 23, 2010 by Frenemy
Watch out Peter Fox, cuz you're probably next!!

Its funny how people don't realize just how politically liberal/left-centric Rammstein actually is (but then thats probably why Lukaschenko and his neo-commie cohorts are hatin'...).

People should pay closer attention to the lyrics. Is poem explication no longer taught in high schools or what?! For example, I was astounded at how all these neo-nazi types adopted Rammstein's song "Links-2-3-4" as their personal anthem when it was, in fact, an unbridled criticism of right-wing conservatism!
12:18 February 23, 2010 by tollermann
Anything is fine in Deutschland as long as it doesn't go against their "new" social norms. How pathetic!
12:53 February 23, 2010 by ron1amr
Rammstein are a very talented band. Their music does not appeal to all people. Such as my brothers don't actually like their music but my father and I like their music. I like the violins and the melody in their music. I actually like classical music and am not into metal or heavy rock. Their must be something about their baritone voices that appeal to me. The song pussy which is claimed to be pornographic, shows split second scenes of a pornographic nature half way into the clip. But if you notice the way the band members show expression in their faces that is well done. Just remember every one has sex to reproduce so really whats the big deal? You either like their music or you don't. They most likely put on a great show. Its up to the individual if they want to follow them as a cult or to just enjoy their show (music) I don't really listen to their lyrics just listen to the music.
13:31 February 23, 2010 by MJTinNOLA
ANASIAN

Sorry if you do not like the freedom of expression in the West, or freedom of expression. If you do not like it, then don't buy it or listen to it. That is YOUR freedom. Perhaps you shouid consider moving to Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, or some other place that meets your high standards of your obviously superior morality. The rest of us godless porno loving enemies of civilization will just be happy here without moralists like you. If you put down your Bible, Koran or whatever long enough, you will understand that all greart artists and thinkers throughout time have been labled as subversives. Good job Rammstein!
13:32 February 23, 2010 by acb
@Anasian: paragraphs would have enticed me to read that blob. Maybe you made some good points, though by reading the first few lines I reckon you are only regurgitating anti-Western propaganda shoved down your throat... But then, I may be mistaken.

@Frenemy: well said :)

@Belarussian Morality Council: thanks for the free (and very powerful) marketing for a great band! Social Criticism ftw!
16:24 February 23, 2010 by biker hotel harz
Talented? Not sure about that, but great at promoting themselves and have a cult following. Yep I said cult.

By the way Anasian, you're talking complete rubbish. Rammstein are completely harmless, it's the band followers who are the corruptors.
17:56 February 23, 2010 by tollermann
acb, well said! It is amazing how many come out of the woodwork. All in support of freedom of speech and the like. only as long as it is their freedom and their speech, anything else and they are a mob in the streets!
23:59 February 23, 2010 by kotapzero
Rammstein are not even an band. They are a marketing idea, and the sound they produce is of such bad quality that I have to say that the people in the cultural department of belarus do a great job. Well done. Please ban modern talking as well.
01:58 February 24, 2010 by Das_Mofo
Yeah acb summed up the best points.

But I still have to take a stab at a guess: Anasian = Southern Christian wife of a US military officer stationed in Germany? Am I close? Friend of my mom's who saw that I posted this on Facebook?
02:08 February 24, 2010 by ziggolo
I think the opposite is true, most of their song lyrics are drenched in irony and sarcasm. Mehr is another example off the new album, basically against clearly unbridled greed. Amerika is the same. Much of the non-ironic songs are clearly identifying with simpler times without excess, e.g., Reise Reise. Pussy is definitely a criticism of sex tourism IMHO.
04:24 February 24, 2010 by William Thirteen
can't we start a petition demanding a duet with Till and Alexander Lukaschenko doing "Ebony & Ivory" or "I've Got You, Babe"?
06:52 February 24, 2010 by 1FCK_1FCK
When your country and economy is falling apart & the people start turning on you, find a harmless enemy to demonize to take the focus off you & your repressive regime. Well done, Lukashenko, you apparently read Dictatorships for Dummies.
11:25 February 25, 2010 by Anasian
@ Das_Moto:

Hahahaha. You are so off the mark! I am an Asian GUY, living in Asia, been to Germany before but only for a visit.

@ ziggolo :

You have a point. Still, one can artfully critisize without being overtly explicit or vile.

@ acb: I am not anti-western. Neither do I buy into any propaganda. There are many great things about the West but there are also many bad stuff. Critisizing what I think is bad in the West.

@MJTinNola:

The reason for your vitriol is you are just like me! You judged me as a 'moralist' but so are you. You a moralist too and a very judgemental one. You consider your morals of unbridled, total freedom as high morality compared to all other moral views. Yes, that's your moral position - hence you are a moralist who insist others should accept your moral standards also. You are just as dogmatic as any religious fundamentalist regarding your moral standards.

I am NOT against freedom. I am against total, unbridled, anrchic,chaotic freedom without values. "Total freedom" to do anything you desire will lead to anarchy and chaos. The presence of LAWS (there are laws in western nations, right?)is proof that total freedom is not possible for a sustainable community. That's my point.

All great artists and thinkers are subversives? Untrue. Some are. Some are not. Bach, Isaac Newton, Einstein, Mendelssohn, Leibnitz, Descartes, etc. are subversives? Some of them at least believed in God and the morality you detest(eg Bach who credited his musical genius to God).

Good day.
18:43 February 26, 2010 by Gretl
I have always loved Rammstein's music, but was unaware of some of the lyrics until I read the translations. That had me ponder to a German collegue whether all German men hated women or just the band (I am voting all Bavarians). I haven't heard the new album yet, but it does make me wonder why there seems to be such animosity against women in their music. Gay? I doubt it. In order to hate, you must have been emotionally-invested. To gay men, I don't even register.
21:24 February 26, 2010 by Kazenra
Oh for god sake how has this discussion once again brought god into the mix?

Anasian get over yourself. The west has Morals, and most of us who listen to Rammstein can't even understand the lyrics, and even when we can because we know some German it doesn't encourage us to do terrible things as you seem to think.

Most of the youths today aren't as influential as you adults seem to think. Or at least I have brains not to act out because of a songs lyrics.

You people take things too seriously, and then you claim the west has poor morals cause we don't follow YOUR beliefs.

I mean yeah, we're not perfect. But it's safe to say we're better than most, despite some of our flaws.

I and many of my friends don't follow some higher being (this is not one of those flaws) and we haven't killed anyone yet or hurt people as you seem to think Rammstein encourages.

Oh and we don't interfere with other peoples lives, namely homosexuals. It doesn't harm society does it? No it doesn't. What is it unnatural?

You see homosexuality in nature all the time. I bet god didn't see that one coming. Or maybe he doesn't care, otherwise he'd probably have done something about it don't ya think?

This is just another pathetic attempt to restrain creativity and the freedom that song artists and just plain normal people should have. Unless they start singing that a certain race should be destroyed etc then people shouldn't be getting so uptight about such a silly issue. It's just music for Christ sake.

Oh and is it just me or are those in charge are trying to make Belarus go the same way as China?

Doesn't anyone see that as the bigger issue here? Enemy of the state? I don't see how that works tbh, it's just an excuse to get their way.
01:01 February 28, 2010 by sc123
Um... Enemy of the state, LOL. i like their music but i don't speak German. But Come on, Enemy of state, why
12:27 February 28, 2010 by Kazenra
@sc123

It's rly pathetic aint it? I was talking to my friends about it yesterday, you shoulda seen their faces when I told them xD
11:34 March 1, 2010 by Anasian
@Kazenra

Please DO NOT quote me out of context.

>>The west has Morals, and most of us who listen to Rammstein can't even understand the lyrics, and even when we can because we know some German it doesn't encourage us to do terrible things as you seem to think.>Oh and we don't interfere with other peoples lives, namely homosexuals. It doesn't harm society does it? No it doesn't. What is it unnatural?>You see homosexuality in nature all the time. I bet god didn't see that one coming. Or maybe he doesn't care, otherwise he'd probably have done something about it don't ya think?
11:47 March 1, 2010 by Anasian2
I had to re-register because "The Local" truncated my comments. Talking about 'freedom of speech' looks like "The Local" does have double-standards when it comes to this. Any comments or view-points deemed 'conservative' are truncated and censored? It seems so. I had similar problems posting some comments earlier. So the liberals are NOT liberal towards comments from their opponents.

Kazenra, tired of commenting. It might be 'censored' again. Long live freedom of speech!
15:58 March 1, 2010 by SMSC
Wow, so much drama for a cd. Really sad. Does anyone ever hear "western" rap music? Its just as bad if not worse. I listen to Rammstein, acually have all the albums and DVD's and love the performance they put on. Its entertainment people. You have a choice to listen or not to listen to the music, right? Does anyone force you to listen to Rammstein? Didnt think so. So if one does not have to or like to listen to it, why are some "bad mouthing" them? The fans that follow them, great! They are entertainers. Its not their way of life, or what they do, so why must everyone judge them as "bad people"? Let them entertain.
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