Debate and Discussion

The Swastika: The most evil symbol in the world or just an innocent bystander?
Product Placement at 12:09PM, Sept. 6, 2009
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The Swastika (or more popularly, the Nazi symbol) is a symbol that requires little introduction. For some its mere presence makes his or her blood boil. Right now those individuals might be thinking “how dare this person to start a thread about this horrible thing?”.

Well I wish to discuss with you the historical significance of this symbol. It has existed in almost all the corners of the Earth for thousands of years before somebody though of creating a group called “The Nationalist Socialist Party”

There are historical examples of it being carved by bronze age people. It existed in Greek culture, Celtic, Nordic, Germanic. It existed in the East as well where it became a holy symbol.

In the west the Swastika was linked with the Sun Cross. It was a symbol of strength and prosperity so there's no wonder that a certain party that wanted to represent strength choose to adopt it as they logo.

So where do we stand today? The Swastika is probably considered to be among the most hated symbols in the west. Nobody is allowed to don it or risk being labeled a Neo-Nazi.

Hindus are campaigning to have the Swastika recognized as a holy symbol (an example of a pro-swastika website).

So let me ask you all a question. Should we continue on this path, to abolish the Swastika, forever branding it a Nazi symbol or should we attempt to rescue it from the clutches of Neo-Nazism who use it to shock people by spray painting it on street walls and windows? Wouldn't it be the ultimate victory to deny them of their own symbol?
Those were my two cents.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:51PM
patrickdevine at 1:07PM, Sept. 6, 2009
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The fact that it's such an old symbol and the fact that it's graphically interesting is probably the reason why Nazis chose it as their symbol in the first place. Indeed it would be an admirable goal to distance the swastika from Nazism and take it back to its original meanings but it's a losing battle. Sorry. Thanks to the Nazi party and their misdeeds the swastika is pretty much indelibly their symbol. I've heard that it's even banned altogether in Germany, along with other symbols associated with the Nazi party. Even to the point where anti-Nazi logos (swastika with a line through it, “no smoking” style,) are also banned. At this point our preconceptions about the symbol are a little too deeply ingrained. At least in Western culture.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:41PM
isukun at 1:35PM, Sept. 6, 2009
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I have no problems with certain religious groups using the system as it was traditionally used. It is a cultural thing in that case. Typically, though, it was represented differently in Hindu circles.

In Western society, though, many people still use the symbol as a representation of the Nazi party and it's ideals. In the US, the use of the symbol itself is not illegal or banned, but many people consider it highly offensive because of the public preconception of what it represents. I don't think there is any way to really stop that, though, especially when people keep using the symbol as ae emblem of intolerance.

The government doesn't really care one way or the other if you tatoo the symbol on your forehead. It only becomes a problem if you run around the streets shooting up Jews.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
Orin J Master at 1:57PM, Sept. 6, 2009
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tilted, in black, against white circle over a red field IS the nazi symbol.

used outside of that design, it has nothing to do with nazism outside of an unpleasent correlation. that said the fact that the only acceptable sun cross is the damn nazi symbol itself does not reflect well on this conversation.
EDIT: nevermind, i see you fixed that.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:22PM
Product Placement at 2:02PM, Sept. 6, 2009
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patrickdevine
Indeed it would be an admirable goal to distance the swastika from Nazism and take it back to its original meanings but it's a losing battle.
I'll admit that it's an uphill battle but surely people can be made to alter their preconception of the swastika. Just by having this discussion, we can hope to alter the opinion for few individuals. That alone is a step in the right direction.
patrickdevine
I've heard that it's even banned altogether in Germany, along with other symbols associated with the Nazi party.
This is true. Germany has done allot to rub off the stain that was their involvement in the war. They rarely like to talk about the war out of collective shame.

But lets picture one thing. A dumb idiot, out to cause shock, draws out the swastika on a local wall. People witness it and go:
a)“Gasp! What a horrible thing!”
b)“Oh look. A sun cross.”
In each scenario, which side won?
Those were my two cents.
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This space for rent.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:51PM
qqq at 4:20PM, Sept. 6, 2009
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The name Svastika comes from Sanskrit, it is a combination of three roots, su- for ‘well’, asti, the Sanskrit equivalent of ‘is’ and ‘-ka’ a diminitive suffix like mouse -> mousie. Effictively it means ‘Good luck charm’, more literally ‘wellbeingie’. It was a symbol of the Aryans, before Hitler and still in academic circles ‘Aryan’ means the people in India and Iran today, the Indo-Iranian people, indeed ‘Iran’ is Persian for ‘Land of the Aryans’ or more ‘Aryania’ literally. The ancestors of those people called themselves ‘Arya’, a Sanskrit term for ‘Noble’, so they were probably a little Nazi themselves.

Persian, Sanskrit, Hindi, English, French, Russian, Swedish, Latin are all part of the languages called the ‘Indo-European’ languages, whose common ancestor was spoken about 4000-4500 years ago. The speakers of those languages are called the Indo-Europeans and indeed, there are good indications that Vishnu equals Zeus equals Thor and have just evolved with their people. Hitler misinterpreted the meaning ‘Aryan’ by thinking it meant the whole of Indo Europeans and too the symbol from the Aryans as his own, a symbol still religious in India till this day. He then tried some Nazi science to try to justify that Slavic languages are not Indo-European, that Slavic Languages are Indo-European is pretty much uncontestable in historical linguistics, Hitler hated Slavs and wanted to invade Poland. He also made a lot of famous remarks about being 'Aryan and blond.', he meant that one has to be Indo-European and blonde, so not blonde slavs, and no Indians too. He believed the IE people originated in Germany, mainstream consensus is that it originated around where Iran lies today and then spread out.

So people took his quote out of context to think that ‘Blond’ means one is Aryan. It's a common thing, if you say ‘I want my bread delicious and with ham’, people often seem to think that you mean that ham is delicious, in fact many people mean that if they say it. But Hitler spoke German, and this rule does not apply to German, but it gets translated sooner or later and then the ambiguity arises. So now in the vernacular due to one historical goofup of Hitler, and one of his followers, people seem to think that a Svastika is a symbol of being a white blond person with blue eyes.

My simple rule of life to this is that if people get offended because they misunderstand things or poorly do their research, like in the infamous ‘niggard’, then it's their problem and people that do it correctly needn't compromise for that, even if the ignorant vastly outnumber the knowledgeable. Since I'm partly Indian, it's also a symbol of my people even though I'm not interested in it my ‘people’ except for their ancient sciences and finding Sanskrit the most badarse language alive, or rather dead.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:57PM
Faliat at 4:31PM, Sept. 6, 2009
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A lot of people don't know the difference between a swastika drawn as a neo-nazi symbol and one that is harmless.

The former is usually right-facing and turned at a 30-45 degree angle. But I've seen some really stupid neos do it without either. And if the people drawing them can't tell the difference, how's the general public?

Call that jumped up metal rod a knife?
Watch mine go straight through a kevlar table, and if it dunt do the same to a certain gaixan's skull in my immediate vicinity after, I GET A F*****G REFUND! BUKKO, AH?!

- Rekkiy (NerveWire)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
Product Placement at 5:33PM, Sept. 6, 2009
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I'm gonna throw out a fun little story.

During the events of world war 1, few Icelandic individuals became interested in the outside world. Prior to that the country had mostly been completely isolated from the rest of the world for around 1000 years. In the year 1914, They founded a shipping company with the goal of opening up trade relations with neighboring countries. The Sun Cross (as we called the Swastika) was donned as the company logo and things went relatively OK for them. Then came the second World War.

The company kept their old trade routs running during the early stages of the war but found that they were having difficulties approaching allied harbors. Out of fear from being attacked by the local defenses, they started to cover their company logos, painted on their boats, with sheets and made certain to deal only with people that knew that they were not Germans. Incidentally, they didn't loose a single ship to the U boats.

Iceland was eventually invaded and occupied by the British. Up until that point the country had maintained neutrality and Britain decided to take over it before the Germans got the chance. One of the first things that the soldiers did when they landed in the capital was to storm the German embassy(to arrest the Germans stationed there), the telegram center (to prevent news about the invasion reaching Germany) and of course the office belonging to the shipping company (because their logo was on display at the front of their office).

All in all these confusions were quite understandable. After all, we were in a middle of a war.

However, after the war, it became quite apparent that people abroad did not bare much trust to the company thanks to their logo so they decided to change it. Today if you go over the company history, there's no mentioning of them over donning the cross as their logo. So scared are they that the knowledge of their past might damage their reputation abroad.

Fast forward several decades. Their office still stands, now a historic building. A Jewish tourist spots the office and sees the old company logo. Shocked with the whole thing, he returns home and writes a lengthy article about antisemitism in Iceland.

Here's a picture of the building, taken at the time.


People were furious about this accusation. Thousands of locals wrote an angry letter to the Israel paper stating that they didn't know the history of the building. It was never tied with Nazism and thus shouldn't be considered one. None the less the building had been a topic of debate. An international hotel chain bought the building and wanted to convert it into a hotel (duh). However, they had to obliged to strict rules regarding how they would renovate the house since it was a historic site and all. Naturally, they were forbidden to defile the outside. The chain argued time and again to remove the sun cross until a compromise was made. Instead of removing the logo a board with the number 1920 (the year the building was built) was placed over it.

So anyways. While I understand that the Swastika has an ugly history from the olden days, it has an even richer history from the olden, olden days. Kinda sucks to go and dismiss all of that.
Those were my two cents.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:51PM
isukun at 7:05PM, Sept. 6, 2009
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It's not so much the ugly past that makes it hard to accept, it's that people still use it today as a symbol of ant-semetism. You can still see the symbol in some asian countries where it isn't asociated with Nazi ideals, but in the West, that is the most common interpretation of the symbol now, in the present.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
da_kasha at 4:56PM, Sept. 10, 2009
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Any crosses are pleasing to the eye but you might as well try disassociating the basic cross from Christianity.

Other than that I'd be happy if the swastika was no longer the embodiment of evil.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:09PM
Product Placement at 6:04PM, Sept. 10, 2009
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isukun
It's not so much the ugly past that makes it hard to accept, it's that people still use it today as a symbol of ant-semetism.
The only reason why people like that get away with it is because people choose to see it that way.

If you manage to change the public opinion of the symbol, the antisemitic groups loose their power over it.
Those were my two cents.
If you have any other questions, please deposit a quarter.
This space for rent.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:51PM
ozoneocean at 8:38PM, Sept. 10, 2009
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qqq
He also made a lot of famous remarks about being ‘Aryan and blond.’, he meant that one has to be Indo-European and blonde, so not blonde slavs, and no Indians too. He believed the IE people originated in Germany, mainstream consensus is that it originated around where Iran lies today and then spread out.
Interesting when you consider that the Croation slavs and the Hungarians were enthusiastic participants and supporters of his.

The dividing lines probably also came down to the religious geopolitical divides in a lot of ways. -Croations being Catholic and traditionally being in opposition to the Muslim and Christian Orthodox members of their group… The Polish were Catholics as well, but their country in the form that it was at the time was a modern fabrication of a mixture of ancient principalities that were never one real nation and there was the humiliation and dispossession of the traditional German speaking portion of the population. Poland today isn't what it was a hundred years ago. None of Europe is.

As for the rest there's the traditional protestant/Catholic distrust of Eastern Christian populations, stemming from Byzantine times, AND the Muslim conquest of the east that led to hundreds of years of war all across Europe and Asia, of which WW1 was a direct descendent and looking at it this way; so was WW2. -With the Jewish people caught in the middle the way they have always been since the very beginning.
In that context the use of the Sun Cross in such a dark way was highly appropriate: the darkening hand of history weighing heavily on events, as always.

In this fashion the current hatred and mistrust of all things Muslim doesn't just have to do with Iran and 9/11, but the same species of “ancestral memory” hate that so invigorated Hitler.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:35PM
BffSatan at 4:11AM, Sept. 11, 2009
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Well the same thing kinda applies to the pentagram. Now a symbol of satanism it was once the symbol for the Goddess Venus, the upside down cross was once a symbol of St Peter (In fact my school has an upside down cross on its emblem). Symbols change, it seems silly to try and stop that.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:21AM
kingofsnake at 1:33PM, Sept. 22, 2009
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They also ruined that little half mustache. That mustache used to be hilarious!



Man, Nazis huh? Is there anything they can't ruin?
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
manicmerganser at 2:30PM, Sept. 22, 2009
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Easy. all you'd have to do is begin associating it with innocence.




see? doesnt look that bad.
www.alannispoliticalcart00ns.blogspot.com
http://1-art-1.deviantart.com/
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM

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