Great Confusion about the Swastika

01-02-2005
Door: OneWorld Redactie

German MEP's called for a Europe-wide ban of the symbol after Prince Harry wore it on a fancy dress costume. In response to this the Dutch media in particular has sadly misrepresented the meaning of the symbol Swastika, unjustly categorizing it as a nazi-symbol and thereby following the reasoning affected by Hitler's propaganda, whereas some reported objectively and responsibly. Nonetheless discussions in the European Union are being held on this matter which concerns us greatly. We do not intend to criticize the Dutch media but wish to eradicate confusion.

In response of our national press release on the matter to confront the misconceptions most Dutch media accepted our plea. BBC News stated correctly: The EU has been urged to ban the swastika because of its Nazi associations with hate and racism. But the symbol was around long before Adolf Hitler,' thereby conveying the same message as ours. Accordingly Hindus in the UK are starting a campaign to reclaim the swastika from its Nazi associations. In the light of history, of all people in he world, the Dutch have the responsibility to understand fully the difference between the nazi-symbol and the Swastika and to convey this to the world, to condemn sinister propaganda and persecutions, be that of the past or present and to rationally prevent propaganda to affect anything from being undermined.

In light of this we would like to share our suggestion. Justice For The World is not against an abolishment of nazi-symbols when such a symbol is used to discriminate, but does not support total abolishment per se. Since when it is used for educational purposes and thus to express how Hitler altered the Swastika, it is beneficial to know to what lengths injustices can go. The Swastika predates the nazi-symbol and expresses good luck. The usage of nazi-symbols may be discussed, but at the same time the true meaning of the symbol of Swastika which is used by many religious groups should be acknowledged and thus we support initiatives like those from the Hindus in the UK given that all people involved use nonviolent and legal manners only to solve the matter. To ban the Swastika should be out of the question.

Hindu Forum spokesman Ramesh Kallidai said: "It's the second most sacred symbol in the Hindu tradition which has been used for 5,000 years to ward off evil."

Looks like the influence of evil embodied in Hitler's propaganda is still trying to get its way, but at the same time it presents a great opportunity for people to come and understand each other better and part with animosity.

Definition of Swastika

A symbol or ornament in the form of a Greek cross with the ends of the arms at right angles all in the same direction, and each prolonged to the height of the parallel arm of the cross. A great many modified forms exist, ogee and volute as well as rectilinear, while various decorative designs, as Greek fret or meander, are derived from or closely associated with it. The swastika is found in remains from the Bronze Age in various parts of Europe, esp. at Hissarlik (Troy), and was in frequent use as late as the 10th century. It is found in ancient Persia, in India, where both Jains and Buddhists used (or still use) it as religious symbol, in China and Japan, and among Indian tribes of North, Central, and South America. It is usually thought to be a charm, talisman, or religious token, esp. a sign of good luck or benediction. Max MuLler distinguished from the swastika, with arms prolonged to the right, the suavastika, with arms prolonged to the left, but this distinction is not commonly recognized. Other names for the swastika are fylfot and gammadion.

Background

Justice FTW International, also called Justice For The World, is an independent, artistic, nonprofit human rights organization founded in The Netherlands on March 2, 2004 whose mission it is to protect human rights and help reestablish justice and morality in the world. We use nonviolent ways exclusively to draw attention to the severe and constant violations of human rights throughout the world.

More information

Resources:

The Truth and Legend of the Swastika
BrainyDictionary

BBC World News
Origins of the swastika
Hindus want to 'reclaim' swastika
Harry says sorry for Nazi costume

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Press & Media Center

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