Tablet Magazine’s Lea Zeltserman examines the fine line between propaganda and history as it relates to the dissemination of knowledge through technology and “the smartphone world.”
Now, there are applications available through the Apple Store titled “iMussolini,” “iStalin” and “Hitler,” espousing hate-ridden and fascist ideals.
Appealing to potential buyer of the 99 cent “Hitler” app, which did not make it through the Apple approval process and now lacks the illustrious “i,” the developer announces, “[I]nside this Encyclopedia: You can copy full text and full pictures, to paste and send by eMail or to paste to any document inside your device to share or study later. You can zoom (in/out) all text and graphics, using two fingers to enlarge or double TAP to zoom out. This encyclopedia of Adolf Hitler digital studio can be used for university, college, or within the family and extend our knowledge. … This is one of many low price encyclopedic applications on a great repertoire.”
After debating whether Mein Kampf should be on the library shelves for 65 years, the same ideology that brought about the murder of six million Jews is now available for only 99 cents at the Apple store.
Regarding the iStalin app, Seltserman recalls how she listened to the dictator “expounding against the barbarian German invaders,” on her iPhone, a speech that her four Soviet grandparents likely heard decades earlier.
“I was left with chills, as if my phone, normally so faithful and reassuring, had betrayed me,” she says.
“If Stalin’s speeches were being piped through the intercom at the local Barnes & Noble café, we’d know exactly what to do,” Zeltserman states. “But when it comes to our haloed iPhones, we’ve lost our certainty about the line between propaganda and history. After all, isn’t unfettered access to information supposed to be a democratic right?”
When “iMussolini” was first released in the Italian iTunes store, it became the country’s second-most popular app, reaching 1,000 daily downloads.
While Jewish groups, Holocaust survivors, and the Young Italian Communists were quick to protest, the developer of the app defended it, calling upon ‘freedom of speech.’
While the app was pulled for “copyright violations,” within a few weeks it was re-approved.
“It’s a delicate page in our history that should never be forgotten,” asserted
Luigi Marino, the developer of “iMussolini.” “The app does not intend to encourage violence in any way.”
However, Zeltserman notes, “You can almost hear the shrug. At best, perhaps he’s just too naive to understand why people might take issue; at worst, he seems cavalier about the protests of Holocaust survivors whose objections he doesn’t even acknowledge.”