Are you getting really tired of driving or walking by a building and seeing it stained with disgusting hate symbols? Are you tired of images that promote racism and bigotry? So are we, and so is most of the world. That’s why we were delighted when we stumbled across an awesome Berlin street artist that uses his mad skills to fight back against hateful imagery. So we decided to write this article, called Art vs. Hate. Spoiler: art is winning!
Unfortunately, hate is inherent in us. We’ve evolved over millions of years to be nice to members of our tribe and to be hostile to members of other tribes. It’s in our biology. But that doesn’t mean that we have to listen to our biology! As the world gets closer to being a global village, it also becomes increasingly tolerant. And people are becoming nicer and nicer to each other. Now, let’s hit the Berlin streets and look at some awesomeness.
Ibo Omari and Paintitback
First, let’s just take a second to remark on the movement’s cool name. “I see a red door and I want it painted black.” Yeah, that’s right, the name heavily conjures up The Rolling Stones. Awesome. Now, let’s get down to business. The man behind Paintitback is Ibo Omari. He runs a graffiti shop and he’s also the mastermind behind a youth movement called “Cultural Heirs.”
He believes that one hate symbol goes a long way. By this, he means that you could be in a really nice and normal neighborhood, taking a stroll on a nice sunny Berlin day, and then suddenly you come across a wall with a swastika. Even you’ve been having a good time until now, this could ruin your entire experience.
But Omari thought of an ingenious way to push back against these hate symbols. He and his crew go around the city with an arsenal of art supplies, look for swastikas and other hate symbols, and transform them into beautiful art. As you can see from the photos in this article, it works. In each piece of graffiti in the pics you see here, there was once a hate symbol. And, as evident from the photos, he’s super talented!
Fighting Hate Is Important Everywhere, but Especially in Germany
For the last few years, we’ve unfortunately seen a resurgence of hate and intolerance. The factors leading to the resurgence are complex, but some of them have to do with the Syrian civil war and the refugee crisis. Germany, in particular, is saturated with neo-nazis and other forms of vile bigots.
Germans are amazing, hard-working, inventive and super nice people. They have born huge economic, historical, and cultural burdens for the atrocities the Germans committed in WW2. And as people all participating in life and striving to make the world a better place, we have largely forgiven Germany as a nation.
This is why it’s especially obscene to see hate symbols in Germany. Because they imply that the hateful vibes of WW2 are not over. Thankfully though, awesome people like Ibo Omari help us fight back. And contrary to what some people might think (or what it looks like on the news), hate and violence are on the decline, and the world is becoming a better place.