Melania Trump has inspired many things, but few expected the first lady of the United States of America to be one of the faces strewn all over a dictator-themed restaurant in Tunisia.
Restaurant Le Dictateur is a posh restaurant located in one of the more glamorous parts of Tunisia. The restaurant in the Cite Ennasr suburb in Tunis features a number of caricatures of different dictators in history. Interestingly, the Le Dictateur has a huge portrait of Melania Trump, which is drawn on a wall right beside a door. On the opposite side of the door is a large drawing of Joseph Stalin with puppet strings attached to his body.
It must be noted that Melania is not considered an oppressive world leader unlike others featured in the restaurant. While her husband, U.S. President Donald Trump, is seen by some as an unpopular figure among his constituents and in other parts of the world, Melania herself has done little to be considered among the world’s most hated dictators.
Photographs and drawings of other dictators are posted all over the restaurant. On a particular brick wall, one can find the faces of Adolf Hitler, the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il and his son Kim Jong -Un, and several of history’s deadliest dictators.
Also posted on the said portion of the restaurant are a couple of photos of Charlie Chaplin. The iconic Hollywood actor starred in a movie baring the same name as the restaurant. Chaplin’s Le Dictateur, also known as The Great Dictator, features the late actor in a dual role. One of his roles in the 1940’s drama-comedy film is an Adolf Hitler look-alike named Adenoid Hynkel, a fascist dictator with anti-Semitic policies. One of the photos on the wall shows Chaplin dressed as the dictator complete with the infamous facial hair that made Hitler even more notorious and unpopular.
The restaurant originally used a caricature of Kim Jong-Un with Hitler’s mustache as its logo. However, according to Metro, Tunisian authorities intervened and asked the owner of the restaurant to change the name and logo. The name was kept while the new logo sports the same Kim Jong-un caricature but without the Hitler facial hair.
Aside from the controversial name, logo, decor, and use of Melania Trump’s image, the restaurant also serves dishes with provocative names. According to Huffington Post, the Restaurant Le Dictateur serves dishes called “Grilled Freedom” and “Anarchy.” Also on its menu are “Opposition,” “Putsch,” “Citizen” salad, and a dish titled “Fascism,” which features grilled bread with cheese, avocado, salmon, shrimp, arugula, tomatoes, and cherries drizzled with balsamic cream. The “Salazar” pasta is named after Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, the late dictator of Portugal.
Tunisians, including the restaurant owner Seif Ben Hammouda, know a thing or two about dictatorships. The North African country was under an oppressive rule for decades. It was only in 2011 when the regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was toppled by a revolution.
During the tyrannical regime, no one was allowed to talk about the dictatorship. Hammouda wanted to take advantage of the country’s new-found freedom to express oneself, and he found the perfect opportunity to do so with his business venture.
“Dictatorship was a taboo subject for decades, and it’s still very relevant here as efforts continue to bring freedom and democracy.”
Thanks to the 2011 revolution, the Restaurant Le Dictateur owner now has every right to express his own views, including those regarding dictators. It remains to be seen, however, if Hammouda will eventually get into legal trouble for using the image of Melania Trump in his restaurant and somewhat indicating that she belongs to the ranks of the world’s most notorious dictators in history.
[Featured Image by Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images]