Red Cross Says Theater Nurse Costume Violates The Geneva Conventions

from the this-is-torture dept

Joe Publius alerts us to a story that I had to check multiple times to make sure wasn't satire. Apparently the British Red Cross got upset that nurse the costume used in a small theater production of a pantomime of Robin Hood (don't ask) included the standard red cross on the hat and the tunic as seen below:
According to the Red Cross, this was an unauthorized use of the Red Cross emblem, which represented a violation of the Geneva Conventions.
"We have no desire to be the villains of the pantomime or to appear heavy handed, but we do have a very serious obligation to protect the Red Cross emblem.

"The emblem is a special sign of neutrality and protection recognised by all sides during armed conflicts.

"Misuse of that emblem - even when done in an innocent and light-hearted manner - has to be addressed. Repeated and widespread misuse of the Red Cross emblem could dilute its neutrality and its ability to protect."
I don't buy that at all. It's not like someone was going to get confused by this use in a pantomime production of Robin Hood. The idea that this dilutes the legitimate symbol seems like a huge stretch. Either way, the production swapped the red cross out for green crosses, as if that really makes any difference.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 9:34am

    I specifically refused to wear a red cross while in Iraq for a very simple reason: It doesn't protect the wearer from anything unless it is recognized by all the combatants. Most military medical personnel in combat zones won't wear them and I think its a joke to put them on ambulances and hospitals. Just gives the bad guys an aiming point.

     

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      bADiTCH, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 10:12am

      Re:

      We were told not to wear the red cross as it makes you a primary target.

       

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        ltlw0lf (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 10:56am

        Re: Re:

        We were told not to wear the red cross as it makes you a primary target.

        Iraq signed the Geneva Convention sections I-IV in 1956, but they could certainly argue that those who signed it were "pre-Sadam" and thus Iraq was no longer interested in upholding the requirements of GC. Terrorist organizations and Jihadists certainly aren't bound to the rules, so they aren't required to follow the rules either. As such, the US considers them "Non-Lawful Combatants", and the rules are different than when fighting "Lawful Combatants." Certainly nobody is expected to receive special treatment for wearing a red cross, and no quarter will likely be given to someone who is associated with the military with one.

        I seem to remember that during WWII, Japanese soldiers would purposefully shoot corpsmen, because they reasoned that they could kill more people that way, since corpsmen would often rush to the aid of wounded soldiers, and without corpsmen, those soldiers would often die.

         

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    Jeremy Lyman (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 9:48am

    Are you sure?

    Looks like a red plus to me.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 9:50am

    The only thing stupider than the Red Cross's complaint is a blog repeating it.

     

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      Ron Rezendes (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 10:02am

      Re:

      Studier than that would be an AC comment on how stupid it was. Luckily we won't see that here...oops!

       

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        Ron Rezendes (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 10:04am

        Re: Re:

        Stupider even...

        {Edit functions requested for billionth time!}

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 10:06am

        Re: Re:

        Stupider than an AC commenting on how stupid is for a blog to comment on how stupid the stupid was stupid is a commenter commenting on how stupid the AC is for commenting how stupid it is for a blog to comment how...uh...Woodchucks?

         

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          MrWilson, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 10:31am

          Star Wars quote of the day

          "Who's more foolish the fool or the fool who follows him?"

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 11:17am

            Re: Star Wars quote of the day

            I don't know, ask the sheeple around here. My drummer goes a different way, but it doesn't stop me from laughing at the bleating of the woolly masses.

             

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              Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 11:43am

              Re: Re: Star Wars quote of the day

              ahh, "sheeple" - clarion call of the angsty teenager with very little to actually say

               

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                Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 12:37pm

                Re: Re: Re: Star Wars quote of the day

                "ahh, "sheeple" - clarion call of the angsty teenager with very little to actually say"

                More a clarion of David Icke and his eternal oddness. He gives a horrid name to all those that believe in a conspiracy or two....

                 

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                  Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 1:02pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Star Wars quote of the day

                  Indeed. Obviously the herd mentality is a real thing, but it's a complex social phenomenon that can affect even the smartest and most self-aware among us - it's hardly as simple as "people are like sheep"

                   

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                    Joe Publius, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 1:50pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Star Wars quote of the day

                    Exactly what a sheeple would say lest their blind conformity keep them up at night!

                    By the way, who leads a flock of sheeple anyway? A Sheepleherder?

                    Also, would A Flock of Sheeple be a good name for a New Wave Conspiracy Theory-themed band?

                     

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                      Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 2:03pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Star Wars quote of the day

                      By the way, who leads a flock of sheeple anyway? A Sheepleherder?

                      By orthographic extrapolation I'm assuming it would be spelled "shepleherd"

                       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2011 @ 6:02pm

      Re:

      Or somebody commenting on said blog.
      Or somebody com... fuck.

       

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 9:50am

    Ugh....

    That nurse looks like Cookie from the Bozo the Clown show....

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 9:52am

    Oops

    Next up, Legos

     

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 10:01am

    Next

    Next to be sued: every porn studio that has made a naughty nurse video for the past 40 years.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 10:09am

    Remember: If your daughter's Halloween costume is a nurse outfit, don't be surprised when she gets taken away by men in a black van. It's your own fault for violating the Geneva Convention.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 10:11am

    I always knew Jim Davidson was some kind of evil, but violating the geneva convention?

    Well... I guess I'm not *that* shocked.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 10:13am

    Are there really people like that?

    I mean, they seemed to think that becoming a lawyer required a frontal lobotomy?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 10:16am

    Since when are theater groups bound to follow the Geneva Conventions

    The Geneva Conventions apply at times of war and armed conflict to governments who have ratified its terms.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 10:26am

    Rotate it 45 degrees (ie, bend over) and it is an X not a + and as such, if it is red it is a target.

     

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    MrWilson, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 10:30am

    Great. Now they're going to get sued by Green Cross International because someone might mistake them for nurses who support environmental responsibility.

    This is the problem with IP laws. Suddenly depicting reality or referencing the way things actually are violates someone else's trademark or copyright.

    You can't reveal that the Emperor isn't wearing any clothes anymore because someone thinks they own the concept of royal nudity (British tabloids, maybe?).

    Your truth violates my copyright!

     

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      Berenerd (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 11:20am

      Re:

      remember this is not an IP suit but the fact that they are breaking a treaty ratified by some countries to no kill medical personnel. Sadly even the US tends to ignore it at time (I will say not on purpose but some of the shootings are not exactly legal...keep that on the down low...)

       

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        ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 11:38am

        Re: Re:

        "remember this is not an IP suit but the fact that they are breaking a treaty ratified by some countries to no kill medical personnel."

        OK, so the message is DON'T KILL THIS ACTRESS!


        Where's the confusion?

         

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        Joe Publius, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 1:54pm

        Re: Re:

        remember this is not an IP suit but the fact that they are breaking a treaty ratified by some countries to no kill medical personnel.

        On a serious note, and to reinforce my previous statement, that's why this story appealed to me more than the standard "Trademark misuse" story. Again, doesn't change my opinion, but it was an interesting dimension.

         

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    TDR, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 10:35am

    What should have been said to the Red Cross in response to their claims is just a two-word reply: "Prove it."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 10:50am

    I'd think that a red cross would be a generic symbol of the medical profession. I could understand (maybe, maaaaaaybe) limiting its use in the professional field, and certainly when soliciting donations, but the fact is that the symbol has become an emblem for all medical systems in some places. Do they honestly expect the public to disassociate that symbol? Also, thanks for reminding me not to do any math with red ink.

     

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      The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 11:08am

      Re:

      The plus shaped cross, yes. A red one, no. They're usually pretty good about making sure it's blue or green or a big H instead of using the Red Cross cross.

      What I don't get is film and stage have traditionally been exempt from this. Think M.A.S.H. or any number of war movies.

      Not that it would really matter for US medical personnel lately. None of our current enemies respect any aspect of the Geneva Convention. Might as well be the Red Crosshairs for all the good it does.

       

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        Huph, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 2:41pm

        Re: Re:

        I was just thinking the same thing about TV and movies and more specifically: video games. Duke Nukem 3D uses the red cross emblem to denote all health pickups. And that game only springs to mind because I've been playing it a lot lately. If my memory serves me correctly, a red cross has been used to designate health items redundantly in countless video games.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 10:51am

    This is totally legit. If a terrorist was to attack the theater you wouldn't want then to not kill the nurse by mistake thinking she was a non combatant.

     

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    scarr (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 11:05am

    Non-neutral?

    Is the panto not a neutral party in this situation? Does (s)he leave the theatre and invade France at some point during the performance? How is this diluting or altering the meaning of the symbol in any way?

     

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    Joe Publius, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 11:47am

    A symbol and it's sanctity

    When I first read the article, I thought, Hey, this is right up Techdirt's alley, only really strange!, and I'm actually a little surprised that it made the muster.

    When I first pondered the story, I too thought of the Red Cross response in terms of Trademark, the misguided idea that every use has to be defended or else the mark is diluted. But I decided that though still misguided, they and Convention by extension, were motivated by their own impression of the sanctity and value of the Red Cross as a symbol.

    In the end that motivation doesn't convince me that, simply because if the symbol really has that kind of value, people will know when the use is serious or not, and no amount of use in pantomimes or other movies will affect that.

     

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    johnny canada, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 11:57am

    Why does the Red Cross through a fit every time some uses that emblem .

    The 'Red Cross' is owned by Johnston & Johnston.

     

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    Matt Ronas, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 12:14pm

    Ridiculous

    It's reasons like this that some people are hesitant to donate money. I understand there is always some type of overhead to running an organization, especially one as large as Red Cross, but does the money they have really need to go to overhead like such as silly cases like this? They could use it to save more lives, and instead they're wasting time and money...

     

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    scarr (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 12:27pm

    Additional info

    This helped me understand the usage requirements, and thus the British Red Cross' claims: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emblems_of_the_International_Red_Cross_and_Red_Crescent_Movement#Use_of _the_emblems

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 12:41pm

    This isn't the first time they have done this, they cried about medics in first person shooter video games using it also. Apparently thing like this are far more important than making sure that aid is properly distributed in Haiti.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 2:09pm

    If the Red Cross has so much money...

    that they can afford to waste it bullying people like this, I suggest no one should donate to them.

    Don't fund bullies.

     

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    Till Mechanic (profile), Jan 14th, 2011 @ 5:03am

    Red Cross - It's not theirs

    Look's like a stylised Saint George's Cross to me
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_George's_Cross

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2011 @ 6:18am

    I heard this news on the radio as the story broke last week. Apparently, the only reason the RC picked up on this was that a member of the RC was attending the theater to watch the production at the time. I'm sure their own sense of self-importance was greatly elevated by the exercise... which, personally, seems to be the whole point, to me at least.

    The radio program that followed was filled with callers informing that they had cancelled their RC subscriptions.

    Hurrah RC.... you complete and utter morons!

     

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    Idobek (profile), Jan 14th, 2011 @ 11:12am

    My list is growing

    Yet another one to add to my list of charities not to give money to. Usually they get added for being majority funded by the taxpayer or my disagreement with the cause. This might be the first for "being bloody stupid".

     

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