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Artists in Berlin have come up with a beautiful way of tackling the far-right

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Gary Ogden
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Artists in Berlin have come up with a beautiful way of tackling the far-right 1

Germany has had a worrying resurgence in far-right activity of late, and it’s been up to the exasperated majority to put a stop to it. Thankfully, the Germans have a knack for stamping it out in rather ingenious ways; for example, a supermarket recently removed all non-German items from its shelves, to highlight how boring and stale life would be without the influence and input of other cultures. 

Elsewhere, a town in northern Germany came up with the frankly genius idea of donating money to a neo-Nazi re-education charity for every step the Nazis took on one of their marches. So every time they protested, they were actively giving money to an organisation explicitly set up to stop them. Fantastic work.

Of course, it’s an ongoing battle, and the walls of Berlin have seen an unfortunate uptake in crude swastikas, despite the great and good’s best efforts. 

Luckily, a vigilante has appeared on the horizon: Ibo Omari, an artist who founded a non-governmental organisation called The Cultural Heritage. Through this, he came up with the idea for the Paintback campaign, which encourages street artists to cover up the swastikas in wonderful and beautiful ways - doing the old “spread love, not hate” thing, and doing it to great effect. 

The campaign has been so successful, and the artists’ message of making beauty out of hate so inspiring, that the movement has spread to other cities across Germany, resulting in the hashtag #PaintBack, through which people can showcase their cover-ups. Here’s a short promo video showcasing the initiative:

And here are some of the best examples of cover-ups. It’s like Tattoo Fixers, but good!

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(Image: Anthony Reungere)

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Gary Ogden

Shortlist writer and "the least woke person in the office", Gary Ogden, likes horror movies, Cheestrings, tapping his leg under the desk, "having a drink", hiding from responsibility, screaming into the mirror whenever he is alone, and assorted other things. Mainly the screaming thing though. @garyblogden

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