The Liberal Party drew flak for a photo showing its most senior members posing with wide smiles during a visit to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berin, Germany.
So this really happened.
Dafuq were they thinking?! Smiling pa! Juskoh naman. Just because the President has no GMRC eh makiki align na po tayo. Sa dami nyo dyan, wala nakaisip na mali pinaggagagawa nyo? Lordt. pic.twitter.com/j3c4aH0D0Q
— Ethel (@econcepcion) April 16, 2018
Mga ka-DDS na nandito sa twitter, pansin nyo ba kung paanong ‘yung mga tinatawag nyong dilawan ay pinupuna ang hindi tamang pagkuha ng pics ng grupo ng LP legislators pati ng VP dun sa Holocaust memorial?That’s how you do it. Kapag mali kahit sino pa ang gumawa dapat punahin.
— arlin dizon (@nylranozid) April 16, 2018
Among those pictured are prominent Liberal Party figures Vice President Leni Robredo, party chair Senator Kiko Pangilinan, and former budget secretary Butch Abad.
As expected, other LP stalwarts and supporters came to the defense of the party in Berlin.
As if naman sinadya nila na bastusin yung Holocaust Memorial.
— Gab ? (@twitnigab) April 16, 2018
Some also contrast their colleagues’ conduct with that of the administration.
By all means, criticize the Vice President and her partymates for being superficial and unthinking. After all, only she can be held to German democratic standards of propriety and sensitivity the President and his partymates (who refuse to step foot in Germany) utterly oppose.
— Manuel L. Quezon III (@mlq3) April 16, 2018
Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. (Ifugao) through Twitter gave an explanation for the group’s supposedly inappropriate display of cheer.
We posed at the Holocaust Memorial not to demean the place. But I took down the tweet immediately so as not to hurt sensibilities. Our German trip was paid for by a German Foundation and in the study trip, we discussed shared democratic values.
— Teddy B. Baguilat (@TeddyBaguilatJr) April 15, 2018
Holocaust memorials are not a happy place
In 2017, the BBC published an article by Joel Gunter which detailed different, “inappropriate” gestures and poses people have made while visiting the memorial.
Among the criticized pictures were that of a juggler in the middle of the structure, a woman stretching her legs out with the monument in the backdrop, and a happy selfie of two friends.
German-Israeli writer Shahak Shapira responded by designing a website called Yolocaust. Shapira presented photos on the site in a such a way that hovering the cursor over the images changes the background from the memorial to photographs of the scenes at concentration camps.
While the pictures may no longer be found on Shapira’s website, it contains many testimonials and comments on his project. Some of the photographs can still be viewed here.
An escape for LP: The memorial designer’s take
In the same article by BBC, Peter Eisenman, who designed the memorial, decried the tourists’ actions but did not think their actions to be so terrible as to warrant a response such as Shapira’s website.
“My idea was to allow as many people of different generations, in their own ways, to deal or not to deal with being in that place. And if they want to lark around I think that’s fine.
He also compared it to a similar setting in Christian tradition. Filipinos can identify with this more:
“People have been jumping around on those pillars forever. They’ve been sunbathing, they’ve been having lunch there and I think that’s fine.
“It’s like a Catholic church, it’s a meeting place, children run around, they sell trinkets. A memorial is an everyday occurrence, it is not sacred ground.”