Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Parents Are Outraged by High School Telling Students Swastika is Symbol of Peace

Consider this to be follow up on a story I reported on Saturday, namely that a teacher at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School presented the swastika as a symbol of peace.

Apparently, parents of the schoolchildren have made so much of a ruckus that the school administration is going to offer a public apology. Since I had doubted the parents' ability to do so, I am heartened to see that I was apparently wrong.

The New York Post has the story:

Administrators at an elite Bronx private school plan to hold an assembly to apologize to students for telling them swastikas were primarily symbols of peace.

Parents said Monday that officials at Ethical Culture Fieldston School sent emails over the weekend mentioning how The Post revealed that at least eight swastikas had been drawn across the campus— and that a student scrawled, “Hitler rocks!” on the cover of a notebook.

Administrators are also now considering adjusting the curriculum at the $45,100-a-year school to be more sensitive, a parent said.

Whoops… perhaps I spoke to soon. What is this “more sensitive” thing? Are the students going to be taught to be more sensitive to those who hate Jews? Will they learn that the swastika was only secondarily a symbol of peace? Will they learn what their college brethren now know, that you do well not to object to the anti-Semitic rantings of the group called Students for Justice in Palestine?

In any event, the story keeps unfolding. We will see whether the school administration attacks the increasing anti-Semitism in America’s schools or whether it tells everyone to be more sensitive about to the concerns of Palestinian terrorists.  

And will the school fire the teacher who said that the swastika was a symbol of peace? That will show good sense. Don’t hold your breath.


Ares Olympus said...

To be fair the Swastika symbol is older than the Nazis:
It is considered to be a sacred and auspicious symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

The earliest known object with swastika-motifs is a bird made from the tusk of a mammoth from the paleolithic settlement of Mezine, Ukraine dated to 10,000 BCE. Mirror-image swastikas (clockwise and anti-clockwise) have been found on ceramic pottery in the Devetashka cave, Bulgaria, dated 6,000 B.C.

In many Western countries, the swastika has been highly stigmatized because of its use in and association with Nazism. It continues to be commonly used as a religious symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism.
An attempt to ban the swastika across the EU in early 2005 failed after objections from the British Government and others. In early 2007, while Germany held the European Union presidency, Berlin proposed that the European Union should follow German Criminal Law and criminalize the denial of the Holocaust and the display of Nazi symbols including the swastika, which is based on the Ban on the Symbols of Unconstitutional Organisations Act. This led to an opposition campaign by Hindu groups across Europe against a ban on the swastika. They pointed out that the swastika has been around for 5,000 years as a symbol of peace. The proposal to ban the swastika was dropped by Berlin from the proposed European Union wide anti-racism laws on January 29, 2007.

You can consider there are clockwise and counter-clockwise symbols, while the Nazi version was counter clockwise. And you can consider it was presented diagonally on the Nazi flag so a horizontal orientation might not be considered identical.

When I was in elementary school, a schoolmate drew the symbol on the back of my hand (don't remember if cw or ccw), and I thought it was cool, but when I got home, my mom said it wasn't, and washed it off, so I trusted her.

I'd tend to think we should try to desensitize ourselves to oppressive symbols from the past, but I understand trauma is real, and survivors a right to avoid symbols that remind them of mass murder of friends and family. But how many generations do we need to protect people?

Maybe as long as idiots think it's cool to be neo-Nazis? So it could be a long while.

At least the Jews and Blacks have a common enemy in the neo-Nazis, if only Trump thought to fact check propaganda that fails to show the proper evil symbols.

David Foster said...

A swastika-like symbol was used by some American Indian tribes, most notably the Navajo. It seems to have symbolized knowledge and good luck, not "peace" per se.

The symbol was used on the battle flag of the US 45th Infantry Division, which included many native Americans...it was changed to the Thunderbird in the 1930s, for obvious reasons.