Friday, August 04, 2006

Swastikas: Are Symbols and Words Sacred? Should their Meaning Change?

How did a symbol with an ancient past begin its journey from mystic rune to a fascist emblem? I asked this question from Albuquerque, New Mexico’s KiMo Theatre. I was surrounded by symbolic swastikas, they were everywhere in the decorum. Please note: The Albuquerque KiMo theatre still displays Indian swastikas today. I am not talking about 1, but maybe 50, maybe more. I was dumbfounded and speechless to encounter so many swastikas. Why? Because I perceive the swastika as a symbol of cultural insensitivity, bad luck (death), genocide, hatred, Hitler, Hezbollah and Hamas.

Remember? Hitler and his Nazis party used the swastikas to murder millions of Jewish people and anyone supporting the Jews, but for centuries before this hideous outrage, the use of the swastika symbol had deep roots in both positive and negative interpretation. What is the real meaning?

What is the history of the swastika? Does this symbol represent good or evil? Should symbols, which groups steal, adopt, or change, be taken back (change the meaning back from a negative to a positive)?

Who Has Used the Swastika as a Symbol Prior to the German Nazis?

Some American Indian Tribes (Good Luck)

Navajo (Whirling Log, Healing Rituals)

Hopi (Represented The Wandering Tribes)

East Indian (The Sun, Wheel of Birth & Regeneration, Vishnu)

Vedic (Mythical Demonic Semi-Deity)

Sumeria (Four Powers of Nature)

Greek (Greek Cross Similarities)

Mayan (Wheel of Life)

Pre 1930 -American (Good Luck)

Pre 1930 American Boy Scout Flag (Black Flag with White Swastika)

Buddhist (Symbol for Peace)

Nordic runes

Teutonic Knights


My perception (Hatred, Intolerance)

Hitler and the Nazis! In 1920, Adolf Hitler decided that the Nazi party needed to stand alone with a distinct insignia, representative flag, and other propaganda. For Hitler, the new flag had to be "a symbol of our own struggle" as well as an "highly effective as a poster." (Mein Kampf, pg. 495) On August 7, 1920, at the Salzburg Congress, a Swastikas flag became the official emblem of the Nazi Party.

Seven years after the Nazi flag was introduced, the KiMo theatre was designed and built (1927) using the style and designs of several American Indian cultures common to the American southwest at that time. One of these American Indian symbols included the swastika. Can the same symbol be representative of many meanings? Who’s symbolic meaning is correct, the sender of the symbol or the receiver of the symbol?

“Now on the National Register of Historic Places, the original design elements of the KiMo Theatre are preserved for their original cultural significance. Although today the swastika can evoke negative emotions, the KiMo invites visitors to remember that the original meaning of this ancient sacred symbol is one of life and prosperity. “Additional information can be found here, which happens to be the source of the paragraph listed above.

Things which make you go Hmmmmm! Comments welcome.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Mike.
It's Friday night, 10 minutes to 10. What best to do at this time... homework of course. Have a paper due tomorrow night at midnight.

Now, your post today was one of those kinds of posts by anyone that make me say, hmmm, this guy likes to learn. This is and probably always will be a controversial subject and you're looking for meaning behind it. Love it. Just love it.

Keep it up, dude.


Anonymous said...

By Krittivas Mukherjee

MUMBAI (Reuters) - A new restaurant in India's financial hub, named after Adolf Hitler and promoted with posters showing the German leader and Nazi swastikas, has infuriated the country's small Jewish community.

'Hitler's Cross', which opened last week, serves up a wide range of continental fare and a big helping of controversy, thanks to a name the owners say they chose to stand out among hundreds of Mumbai eateries.

"We wanted to be different. This is one name that will stay in people's minds," owner Punit Shablok told Reuters.

"We are not promoting Hitler. But we want to tell people we are different in the way he was different."

But India's remaining Jews -- most migrated to Israel and the West over the years -- say they are outraged by the gimmick.

"This signifies a severe lack of awareness of the agony of millions of Jews caused by one man," said Jonathan Solomon, chairman of the Indian Jewish Federation, the community's umbrella organization.

"We are going to stop this deification of Hitler," he said without elaborating.

The small restaurant, its interior done out in the Nazi colors of red, white and black, also has a lounge for smoking the exotic Indian water pipe or "hookah." Continued...