A childish piece of poor taste

The Olympics are supposed to be above partisan politics whether internal to a particular country or between countries.

Of course, that does not stop politicians using the games to get some favourable publicity, but using them to score partisan points is generally, and rightly, frowned on.

So the propaganda advert put together by Fly Films and bought and screened by the Argentine government, would have been a bit naughty even without the war memorial scene.

The advert showed an Argentine athlete, Fernando Zylberberg, who was secretly filmed training for the Olympics in iconic places in the Falklands Islands, where he was supposed to be taking part in a marathon, with the caption "To compete on English soil we train on Argentine soil."

Had the advert merely shown Zylberberg in Port Stanley and outside the Globe tavern, the most sensible reaction would probably have been to ignore it.

What moves this advert, however from the territory of a minor act of childishness which would have been best ignored to something completely out of order, is that it showed him running up and down on a memorial to people killed during World War One.

This sort of display of lack of respect for the dead is something that a civilised government simply should not be seen to endorse.

How would the Argentine government react if the British government sponsored and broadcast a political advert which included a display of blatant disrespect to the graves of the Argentine war dead who are buried on the Falklands Islands? They would be livid, and they would have every right to be.

The parent company of the advertising agency which used Fly Films' footage to create the 90 second video have disavowed and condemned the advert in the strongest terms, calling it "contrary to everything that we as a company stand for."

Sir Martin Sorrell, founder and chief executive of communications giant WPP, told the Daily Telegraph: "The ad is totally, and I mean totally, unacceptable.

"The agency has formally apologised for any offence or pain caused. We are appalled and embarrassed by it."

The last word on the subject should belong to Falklands resident and elected legislator Ian Hansen, who said

"It is deeply sad to see Mr Zylberberg clambering over a war memorial. Sadly this illustrates the disrespect the Argentine authorities have for our home and our people”


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