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Paintback uses graffiti to fight Nazism and reclaim Germany's streets

The Nazi swastika is one of the most globally recognisable and reprehensible symbols in existence. Just the sight of it brings to mind images of a violent regime that systematically and brutally killed over six million Jews.

While Germany has done its best to sanitise the country of any trace of Nazi culture, there\'s only so much the authorities can do. Neo-nazis have ensured that traces of Germany\'s shameful past continue to exist in today\'s liberal and multicultural Germany. One of the ways they are managing this is through graffiti.

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Armed with canisters of spray paint, they\'ve defaced countless walls with swastikas. Now though, Ibo Omari and his graffiti collective Paintback are reclaiming the streets of Germany, one swastika at a time.

The idea was spawned when Omari, a graffiti store owner and artist, had a man walk in to his store looking to by a few cans of spray paint. The man explained that he\'d spotted a painting of a nazi flag that he wanted to cover up. Omari asked him not to bother, taking the task upon himself as well. Soon the swastika was a cartoon mosquito.

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What started as a one-off, soon turned into a movement called Paintback. After the first effort, Omari\'s friends told him of other sites of Nazi graffiti which Omari and his friends transformed into happier things like rabbits and even Rubik\'s cubes. Now, thanks to the wonders of social media, the movement has spread from Omari\'s city of Berlin to others across Germany.

Text by Ranjan Crasta

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