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Re: Far Right Groups Using Ancient Sites
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A few years ago I reported seeing some swastikas daubed in the chambers at Belas Knap on here.

It led to a bit of a discussion particularly with faerygirl, which got a bit bad-tempered (on my part, sorry FG) about whether the swastika is okay to use because of its long pre-Nazi history.

Apart from the obvious point that any vandalism of ancient sites is deplorable, I took the view that the swastika has become too toxic to use, whatever the intentions behind its use may be. Here's what I said at the time:

"...there are two problems for me personally:

(a) If someone had gone into the chambers and written "peace and love to everyone", it would still be vandalism to an ancient site

(b) As I (poorly) tried to say to FG above, the symbol, whatever its origins, has become so loaded down with far-right connotations that if someone uses it at all, it will almost inevitably be seen and interpreted in that context. I've read a lot about "reclaiming" the swastika, but I'm afraid that in Europe, while people are alive who remember Nazism and the Second World War, or whose parents and relatives died as a direct result of that ideology, I don't think it's likely to be possible. The scars are too deeply felt still. Obviously an entirely different position in the east. "


In the years since there have been various campaigns to reclaim the swastika (e.g. here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04lsxh5), but each one has met with resistance because it's very difficult to overcome the Nazi associations.

By chance today, an opinion piece was posted in the Guardian today about the use of blackface in Morris dancing:
https://www.theguardian.com/co[...]dancing-blacking-up-irrelevant

Morris dancing appeals to my Wicker Man version of mythical Britain and my initial white middle class reaction when seeing the article was to mentally make the same arguments that others have done before (history, workers disguising their faces, etc.). But this paragraph struck a chord:

"History is interesting. Origin stories fascinate people. All of these arguments are well-worn. But the more I listen to how critics and supporters slice, dice and muddle the evidence, the more tempted I am to say to hell with all of it. What relevance has origin in what is perceived as outwardly – often proudly – racist behaviour?"

And it struck me that the same is true of the swastika. Whatever its history and origins, for millions of people it will always be a symbol of a terrible moment in history, of hate, oppression and genocide. In my view it's too ambiguous a symbol to use now, even with good intentions. Why deliberately use something that is guaranteed to cause such upset?

I also suspect that the tree carvers know exactly what the swastika's more recent associations are - after all, why only chose that one symbol to carve if you have a different meaning in mind?

Just my thoughts, sorry for the longer than intended reply.

[PS you know I agree with you on the current right wing coup.]


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thesweetcheat
Posted by thesweetcheat
12th August 2019ce
19:20

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