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Swastikas Are Less Racist Than Racists Think

They are traditionally a symbol of peace and good fortune.

28/04/2017 1:46 PM AEST
Mark Ellis/Facebook
I don't think it means what you think it means.

Another day, another racist saluting the swastika. This time it's Mark Ellis, a recently resigned One Nation candidate, in an old photo of him with a swastika mown into a lawn. And he's shirtless, because mowing the lawn is sweaty work, obviously, and not at all because he is trying to appear 'manly'. The whole image is so try-hard and obtuse, I challenge you not to snort-laugh like I did.

I find the use of the swastika by neo-Nazis and other racists hilarious, not merely for its unoriginality, but also because it perfectly demonstrates their ignorance. They have no idea that the swastika is an ancient Sanskrit symbol, believed to be sacred and auspicious across Asia, especially by Hindus and Buddhists.

That's right, folks -- the swastika was a symbol of good fortune and peace in many cultures and countries for centuries before a small-minded and small-moustached murderer decided it should represent white supremacy, evil and hatred.

I'd like to think that if I ever chose to worship something, I'd do some research.

I learned of the swastika's origins when I was 12 and my mother gave me an old wallet of hers from India. It was made of beautiful green leather, embossed border to border with dozens of mini swastikas. It was horrifyingly cute.

However, it was not Mum trying to tell me that I'm the least loved of her offspring, as I originally thought. She explained that the Sanskrit symbol was used for luck -- hence its appearance on a wallet. (As further proof of the symbol's potency, I eventually lost the wallet, and my bank balance has sadly reflected that loss ever since.)

Even without that experience, I'd like to think that if I ever chose to worship something, align myself with it, pose with it in a meaningful photo, put it on a flag, tattoo it on my butt, or deface my perfectly manicured lawn with it, I'd do some research. Then again, we all know that facts and knowledge are a racist's nemesis.

When we see racists asserting their apparent supremacy, one of the best ways to diffuse their hate is to laugh.

Which is why many racists won't know there is now a growing 'Reclaim The Swastika' movement, further diluting the message they want to send. Check out #reclaimtheswastika on Twitter, and sites dedicated to the cause such as http://proswastika.org/ and http://reclaimtheswastika.com/. It's understandable that a lot of people feel angry and frustrated that their ability to celebrate the symbol has been unfairly denied to them because it was misappropriated by an insane dictator.

Admittedly, in countries such as Australia and the US and in Europe, there's a very small chance of the swastika being 'rehabilitated'. Hitler's corruption of it was horrific and fatal in every sense. Nevertheless, it's a fact that the symbol still remains in many homes, temples and artworks around the world, adhering to its original meaning; not intending to ignore its more recent tragic history, but to shine, as it did for thousands of years, despite it.

Which is exactly why it's important for more people to understand its true meaning. When we see racists earnestly/desperately/shirtlessly asserting their apparent supremacy, one of the best ways to diffuse their hate is to laugh at the irony of them ripping off an originally spiritual symbol that remains positively significant to some of the very groups of people they believe they are superior to.


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