A new anti-torture campaign from the Belgian branch of Amnesty International packs the slogan, “Torture a man and he will tell you anything.”
To prove its point, the organization has been using photos of bloodied and defeated well-known figures proclaiming ridiculous statements presumably under duress, including one of Iggy Pop saying, “The future of rock ‘n’ roll, it’s Justin Bieber.” Below said photo is a caption in French, which translated, reads as, “In addition to being inhumane, torture is ineffective. Let’s stop it.”
The ad’s obviously a bit absurd; it’s hard to imagine a person or organization torturing Iggy Pop, let alone over Justin Bieber of all people. But, as Amnesty International Belgium director Philippe Hensmans explained, “For us it was a quirky but not sloppy way to attract public attention to this tragic reality, which often happens in the greatest secrecy.”
Also featured in the campaign is a beaten-up Dalai Lama saying, “A man who does not have a Rolex watch at 50 years old has failed in his life.” Arguably, this one’s a bit more jarring and effective considering it’s easier to conceive of a roughed up Pop than His Holiness with scars and lacerations. There’s one more of fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld touting the style of Hawaiian shirts and sandals, which like Pop’s ad, is more tongue-in-cheek.
As SPIN points out, Amnesty International is no stranger to having pop culture icons on board for their human rights campaigns. It recently hosted a show with Pussy Riot, Flaming Lips, Ms. Lauryn Hill, and more, along with sponsoring a 2008 tour enlisting Cat Power, Vampire Weekend, Justice, and R.E.M.