If you are going to compare yourself to any historical figures or world leaders, then there are probably other less controversial ones out there besides Adolf Hitler.
On Friday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte made comments comparing himself to the infamous leader of the Nazi regime, saying he wants to kill millions of drug addicts, just like how Hitler exterminated millions of Jews during the Holocaust.
“Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now there is three million, what is it, three million drug addicts (in the Philippines) there are,” Duterte said during a speech in his hometown of Davao City.
“I’d be happy to slaughter them. At least if Germany had Hitler, then the Philippines would have me. You know my victims, I would like them to be all criminals, to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.”
The total number of victims that were killed during Hitler’s holocaust counts to at least 11 million people, six million were Jews. Needless to say, his comments aroused plenty of controversy and left the United Nations and plenty of human rights groups shaking their heads.
Ronald Laudner, the president of the World Jewish Congress who was in Israel to attend the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, condemned the president’s remarks, saying that the comments were “revolting” and implored the Filipino president to retract them and apologize.
Duterte’s comments also couldn’t have come at a worse time, since the 75th anniversary of the massacre at Babi Yar had just been commemorated last September. This event saw the Nazi Party slaughter more than 33,000 Jews in Ukraine.
Laudner later added that, while drug abuse has always been a pretty serious issue, Duterte’s comments were not only inhumane, but also demonstrated an “appalling disregard for human life.”
The vitriolic leader’s campaign was focused primarily towards the eradication of crime, particularly drug-related offenses, and he has also made several statements in the past that have caused many in the international community to recoil.
Last month, U.S. President Barack Obama was scheduled to meet with Duterte and stated that he would bring up the extra judicial killings that have been taking place in Philippines ever since Duterte was sworn into office. Duterte responded angrily towards the American president on September 5, and as a result, Obama cancelled their meeting.
Ever since he took office in June, Duterte has been making good on his promise to go in hard on crime, with hundreds of suspected drug dealers and users having been killed by his police force, alongside thousands of other deaths that have been attributed to vigilante killings.
According to a report published by the Philippine Star in July, approximately 25,230 drug dealers and users have surrendered to the authorities ever since the Philippine government began its war on drugs.
Duterte is currently involved in senate hearings where he is trying to defend himself from accusations of police wrongdoings in the drug-related killings in the country and claims that he used to operate vigilante death squads in Davao City, where he served as its mayor for more than two decades.
Interestingly enough, Duterte confirmed the claims of his involvement in the alleged death squads in Davao during a live broadcast of a Philippine TV show last year. However, he would later retract on these remarks, but admitted that he killed two suspects who were wanted for kidnapping while he was still mayor.
Duterte is no stranger to making controversial comments. He joked about how he was not able to join in the gang rape of an Australian missionary back in the 1980’s, insulted the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines and U.S. President Obama with some derogatory remarks, cursed the Pope, and even ordered the police to kill drug dealers if they tried to fight back.
When discussing the pope, he said that the pontiff’s visit to the Philippines last year had angered him because of the traffic it had caused, saying that it took more than five hours for him and his convoy to reach their destination.
“I asked who is coming. They answered, the Pope. I wanted to call him, ‘Pope, (expletives), go home. Do not visit us again,'” he said.
Discussing President Obama while in Laos to attend an ASEAN summit last September, Duterte stated the following.
“Who does he think he is? I am no American puppet. I am the president of a sovereign country and I am not answerable to anyone except the Filipino people.”
He later declared, “son of a (expletive), I will swear at you,” though he would later clarify that these remarks were meant for a journalist and not President Obama himself.
[Featured Image by Bullit Marquez/AP Images]