The T-shirts are rotten in the state of Denmark

I’m generally of the opinion that you should be able to write whatever you’d like on a T-shirt, wear it around, and not get arrested for it. Be morally repugnant, or perhaps worse, if you like. Be hopelessly naive in whatever political or social slogan you choose to emblaze across your chest. You won’t be the first. ...

597892_rsz_071130_pflp_05.jpg
597892_rsz_071130_pflp_05.jpg

I'm generally of the opinion that you should be able to write whatever you'd like on a T-shirt, wear it around, and not get arrested for it. Be morally repugnant, or perhaps worse, if you like. Be hopelessly naive in whatever political or social slogan you choose to emblaze across your chest. You won't be the first. Go ahead and wear that Osama bin Laden Rocks! T-shirt. You're an idiot, but go ahead. At least now everyone will know you're a moron.

That's why I'm not opposed per se to the T-shirts being sold by a Copenhagen group called Fighters+Lovers. The shirts (above) feature the logos of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The Danish design group has gotten a good deal of attention recently because its members face potential 10-year prison terms — not for selling the shirts, but for donating proceeds to the terrorist groups in question. And that's where these folks lose my sympathy.

Over in Denmark, the case has stirred up all sorts of debate over free speech and the distinction between "freedom fighters" and "terrorists." The defendants claim the groups are "legitimate resistance movements." A spokesman for the designers told the BBC last year:

I’m generally of the opinion that you should be able to write whatever you’d like on a T-shirt, wear it around, and not get arrested for it. Be morally repugnant, or perhaps worse, if you like. Be hopelessly naive in whatever political or social slogan you choose to emblaze across your chest. You won’t be the first. Go ahead and wear that Osama bin Laden Rocks! T-shirt. You’re an idiot, but go ahead. At least now everyone will know you’re a moron.

That’s why I’m not opposed per se to the T-shirts being sold by a Copenhagen group called Fighters+Lovers. The shirts (above) feature the logos of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The Danish design group has gotten a good deal of attention recently because its members face potential 10-year prison terms — not for selling the shirts, but for donating proceeds to the terrorist groups in question. And that’s where these folks lose my sympathy.

Over in Denmark, the case has stirred up all sorts of debate over free speech and the distinction between “freedom fighters” and “terrorists.” The defendants claim the groups are “legitimate resistance movements.” A spokesman for the designers told the BBC last year:

[W]e have the right to fight for something, for justice or the right to education, which Farc and the PLFP are fighting for.”

And on the group’s Web site, it gets even worse:

Fighters+Lovers is greatly in debt to the stylish classic coolness of Palestinian fighter Leyla Khaled and the funky outrageous style of Colombian guerrilla commander Jacobo Arenas. Our work is inspired by the style and principles of these legendary fighters.

Let them bring it on. You rock!

Uh, no. You rock not. Let’s be clear: the PFLP is a terrorist organization. They were behind a string of hijackings in the 1960s and 1970s and in 2001, they assassinated the Israeli tourism minister. They’re the guys marching in the streets, shouting that the only diplomacy with Israel should be with bullets. As for FARC, they’re narco-terrorists, pure and simple. They’ve terrorized Colombia for decades with their expertise in extortion, kidnappings, murder, and drug running. 

In my best Tim Gunn voice, I’d like to say this: Designers, you’re helping to fund terror. Period. Your insistence that the cash was earmarked for humanitarian projects shows how dangerously naive you are. If I may channel Heidi for a moment, you’re out.

Carolyn O'Hara is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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