According to the Associated Press, Cameron Diaz, the star of “There’s something about Mary” and the voice of Princess Fiona in the Shrek movies, has angered residents of Peru during her visit there. Surprisingly enough, it was Diaz’s handbag that caused Peruvian tempers to flare. The olive green bag’s color wasn’t to blame; the presence of the Maoist slogan “Serve the People” written in Chinese on the bags flap was the cause of the uproar.
The slogan was probably the most well known one attributed to the Chinese leader Mao Zedong. Fashion savvy trend setters snap the bags up in other countries. This is not the case in Peru. According to the Associated Press, Peruvians suffered greatly at the hands of Maoist guerrilla insurgents who used the name Maoist Shining Path. The insurgents attempted to overthrow Peru’s government.
According to the Associated Press, the guerrilla fighters were responsible for attacks, murders, assassinations, and bombings. The insurgency terrorized Peruvians throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. Nearly 70,000 people died at the hands of the insurgency, a fact Diaz was mostly likely unaware of while choosing her ensemble. According to the Independent the insurgency was inspired by Mao Zedong. The insurgency remained strong until the capture of its leader, Abimael Guzmán. Several hundred guerrillas remain hidden in the Peruvian wilderness. Diaz reportedly carried the bag while touring the ancient Incan city of Machu Pichu on Friday.
According to the Associated Press, a very well known Peruvian Human Rights Activist named Pablo Rojas stated: “It alludes to a concept that did so much damage to Peru, that brought about so many victims. I don’t think she should have used that bag where the followers of that ideology did so much damage.”, in regard to the slogan printed on the bag.
Rojas was not the only Human Rights worker to take aim at Diaz over the hand bag. According to the Independent, another worker by the name of Charlie Smith stated: “The terrorist violence was terrible and people are still very scared that it is going to come back. Things that are obviously Communist are going to frighten them.” Smith did point out that this was true even though there was little guerrilla fighting in the area of Peru in which Diaz was staying.
An article in the Independent likened Diaz’s actions to wearing a swastika while walking up to the Wailing Wall. Diaz has yet to comment to reporters about the cultural controversy her accessory has stirred up. Speculation abounds as to whether the incident will cause Diaz to join the new trend of Celebrity apologizing .
The Associated Press, Diaz’s bag with Maoist slogan raises ire, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070623/ap_on_en_mo/people_cameron_diaz;_ylt=Ai0HT7P4t1JzFnKA_55_ySFY24cA
The Independent, The Hollywood star’s bag that shocked a nation, http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article2701308.ece