Category Archives: swastikas

random bits of this and that

last night was the Sousa Bash, in honour of John Phillip Sousa‘s 153rd birthday, and, coincidentally, it was also Antoine-Joseph Sax‘s 193rd birthday. it went well, in spite of the fact that the west seattle bridge was closed for 3 hours, immediately prior to our concert, which made everybody, including a significant portion of the band, late. it was held at Kenyon Hall (formerly “Hokum” Hall), which, despite the fact that i actually lived in west seattle for a year or so, and have driven past it so many times i have lost count, i have never heard of it. it’s a good thing i know were it is now, however, as we apparently have the hall scheduled for the next 2 tuesdays in a row for recording.

it also makes me interested in talking to lou (the proprietor) about scheduling the fremont philharmonic there at some point…

<weird dream>
i was in this hotel in a big city somewhere, lots of glass, modern architecture, doing something, when these three guys with automatic weapons came in and started screaming and spraying bullets everywhere. fortunately i was off to the side, so i wasn’t a direct target, but also the shots that i did take were, apparently, fairly low velocity, and they were buckshot about the size of a dust-speck, so they stung, but they didn’t actually injure me – it was frightening, none the less, and everybody was cringing and trying to convince the guys to let them go. somehow i managed to find my way to an elaborate laundry chute which lead to the basement, but the guys were not letting anyone escape that way – despite the fact that there were three or more people that jumped down the chute that i saw. when i was getting ready to jump, one of the guys waved a gun in my direction and told me to stay put, so i didn’t jump, but i continued to work my way towards the exit, and i eventually managed to escape into the parking garage. at this point, i realised that moe had been there as well, but instead of going back for her, or notifying the police or something like that, i decided to get out of town by the most direct means possible and not tell anybody about the fact that this hotel was being held up, or that my wife was in danger. towards the end of the dream, when i was going out of town, it vaguely resembled 5th ave., in downtown seattle, except the buildings were all different, and if it was 5th ave. then the hotel that i was coming from would have been approximately where the westlake mall is, except that it was backwards, and a hotel instead of a mall.
</weird dream>

i also got another email from the 2008 art car calendar people, indicating some vague interest in knowing more about the swastika, and the meaning of my car, which, on the surface, sounds like i may have made an impression on them. i’m not holding my breath, however, because one of the questions they asked was answered in plain, clear language, in the blurb i sent them about the car originally, which makes me wonder if they even bothered to read the blurb in the first place, or they just had a knee-jerk reaction to the swastika.

i have a swastika on my art car… get used to it!

so i submitted pictures of my art car to the national 2008 Art Car Calendar.

this was the response they sent me:

Hi,

You have a beautiful car, but I do have a problem with the swatstika on top.

Yes, I know that I am ignorant and narrow minded, but the image is embedded in my brain as an evil symbol of hate.

Next year if you would allow me to cover it up or replace it with another symbol, then I would feel more comfortable to have it in the calendar.

I truly apologize if I have offended you in any way, but that is my opinion and I publish the calendar.

Thank you for submitting your car for the calendar.

so this was the response i sent back:

if people like you continue to be in positions where they can determine what other people see, then the swastika will never regain that which it had for everyone, for literally thousands of years before anybody ever heard of the nazis. if that happens, it will be a sad day for humanity.

one of the reasons why i put a swastika on my car is to show people that it had another, entirely opposite meaning from the one people like you have put upon it in the past 85 years.

you may not cover or alter the artwork on my car. to do so would be a misrepresentation of what i meant for my art car, and i will not permit you to do so.

i am offended, but i will get over it. however, you should examine your prejudices again in a year or so and see if they haven’t changed, because if they haven’t, then it is possible that you have offended The Remover of Obstacles, and i can’t speak for Him.

more unwarranted swastika paranoia… 8/

U.S. Navy to spend money on masking swastika snafu
September 27, 2007

Naval Base Coronado

A U.S. Naval base that appears in the shape of a swastika when seen from above will receive a US$600,000 make-over after sparking concerns from Jewish groups.

“It doesn’t make any sense that a building on government property would be built in the shape of one of the most hated symbols in human history,” Morris Casuto, the Anti-Defamation League’s Regional Director in San Diego, told CNN.

Barracks at the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, Calif. were built as four L-shaped buildings, four decades ago.

But it wasn’t until online satellite imaging tools such as Google Earth made pictures from above readily accessible that the shape sparked controversy.

Morris Casuto, Jewish Anti-Defamation League's Regional Director in San Diego
Morris Casuto, Jewish Anti-Defamation League’s Regional Director in San Diego

The swastika, a symbol forever tied to Nazi Germany, is visible to anyone with access to the Internet.

The Navy has said the barracks, used by the Seabees, were constructed in the late 1960s and were not intended to resemble the Nazi symbol.

Casuto readily admits that it was likely an oversight when the complex was built, but says that doesn’t make it right.

After nine months of conversation with the ADL, the Navy has decided to spend US$600,000 on landscaping and architectural changes that would obscure the swastika shape from the air.

“The Navy came to realize that this is a symbol that thousands of people died to defeat and it was inappropriate to have that shape on a military base,” Casuto told Reuters on Wednesday.

Richard Rider, a member of the San Diego Tax Fighters, said spending money on cosmetic changes to military bases is wasteful.

“Should we spend $600,000 on landscaping and cosmetic changes or should we buy three heavily armored humvees for our forces in Iraq?” he told ABC. “Don’t go to the American taxpayer and say we’d rather spend your money on flowerpots and sidewalks than fighting vehicles for our men.”

But the whole debate has flown over the head of John Mock, the architect who designed the buildings, who told CNN last year there was no malicious intent.

“It’s four L-shaped buildings — looking from the ground, the air — it still is,” he said.

The ADL is fighting the appearance of another immense swastika, this one carved into a cornfield in rural New Jersey.

“At a time when Jews around the world and in New Jersey are celebrating the High Holidays, we are confronted with this ugly symbol of hatred against Jews,” said Etzion Neuer, ADL New Jersey Regional Director.

According to the ADL, it’s the third time a swastika has been cut into a New Jersey county cornfield.


from the book “Gentle Swastika – Reclaiming The Innocence” by ManWoman:

Webster’s New American Dictionary (1959) gives this definition for Swastika: “An ancient Jewish religious symbol…”

From the second century BC to the end of the first century AD, a secret, monastic brotherhood of Jews called the Essenes lived in Palestine. Living communally and shunning public life, this hermetic group stressed purity and profound spiritual seeking. The swastika to them was a sacred sign representing the Wheel of Eternal Life. It symbolized the inner movement of the soul which leads through death to resurrection.

Jesus of Nazareth is said to have been trained in his mystical path by the Essene brotherhood, who are probably the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls…

There are associations with the swastika in Hebrew Qabalah, a Jewish mystical teaching. “Aleph” (א) is composed of two “Yodin” (י) and a cross-bar, which is a “Vau” (ו). It represents the World Above separated from the World Below by the Vital Force…

Aleph is symbolic of the primal motion of the Great Breath, the action of the creative center. This may be the source of the swastika as a Jewish religious sign. Some Qabalistic diagrams of the Sepiroth Wheel show a ten-legged swastika-like symbol portraying the manifestation of Primordial or Heavenly Man (Sephiroth) from the Infinite (En Soph)…

The Jewish Defense Leage and the B’Nai Brith Society have been trying to stamp out swastikas, even ones in Chinese shops…

The Jews of the world need to know that there is a gentle swastika, and that they are connected to it by their deepest religious philosophies. Only time can heal the wounds left by Hitler, time and the truth — and that is my purpose in writing this book. Have I chosen an impossible task? I don’t think so.

What do I want from Jews? I want them to realize that the swastika has a life separate and distinct from the nazis.

this is so fucking irrational… 8/

Swastika building embarrasses US Navy
September 28, 2007

blerdge

The US Navy will spend thousands to camouflage a California barracks resembling a Nazi swastika after the embarrassing shape was revealed on the internet.

Navy officials said they became aware the barracks looked like a swastika from the air shortly after its 1967 groundbreaking — and had decided not to do anything.

According to The New York Times the resemblance went unnoticed by the public for decades until it was spotted in aerial views on the internet.

The Navy now plans to spend $682,000 on “camouflage” landscaping and rooftop adjustments to hide any aerial view of the San Diego barracks, known as Naval Base Coronado.

“You have to realise back in the 1960s we did not have the internet,” base spokeswoman Angelic Dolan said. “We don’t want to offend anyone, and we don’t want to be associated with the symbol.”

Ms Dolan said when officials first noticed the swastika look there was “no reason to redo the buildings because they were in use”.

But an anti-bigotry group based in San Diego is not impressed.

Regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, Morris Casuto, said: “We told the Navy this was an incredibly inappropriate shape for a structure on a military installation.”

He said his group “never ascribed evil intent to the structure’s design” and praised the Navy for recognising the problem and “doing the right thing”.

The naval spokeswoman said the barracks were in a no-fly zone that was off limits to commercial airlines, so most people would not see the offending building from the air.


Navy to mask Coronado’s swastika-shaped barracks
Ground level isn’t a problem but aerial views of the Coronado site spark outrage.
September 26, 2007
By Tony Perry

blerdge

CORONADO, Calif., — The U.S. Navy has decided to spend as much as $600,000 for landscaping and architectural modifications to obscure the fact that one its building complexes looks like a swastika from the air.

The four L-shaped buildings, constructed in the late 1960s, are part of the amphibious base at Coronado and serve as barracks for Seabees.

From the ground and from inside nearby buildings, the controversial shape cannot be seen. Nor are there any civilian or military landing patterns that provide such a view to airline passengers.

But once people began looking at satellite images from Google Earth, they started commenting about on blogs and websites about how much the buildings resembled the symbol used by the Nazis.

When contacted by a Missouri-based radio talk-show host last year, Navy officials gave no indication they would make changes.

But early this year, the issue was quietly taken up by Morris Casuto, the Anti-Defamation League’s regional director in San Diego, and U.S. Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego).

As a result, in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, the Navy has budgeted up to $600,000 for changes in walkways, “camouflage” landscaping and rooftop photovoltaic cells.

The goal is to mask the shape. “We don’t want to be associated with something as symbolic and hateful as a swastika,” said Scott Sutherland, deputy public affairs officer for Navy Region Southwest, the command that is responsible for maintaining buildings on local bases.

The collection of L-shaped buildings is at the corner of Tulagi and Bougainville roads, named after World War II battles.

Navy officials say the shape of the buildings, designed by local architect John Mock, was not noted until after the groundbreaking in 1967 — and since it was not visible from the ground, a decision was made not to make any changes.

It is unclear who first noticed the shape on Google Earth. But one of the first and loudest advocates demanding a change was Dave vonKleist, host of a Missouri-based radio-talk show, The Power Hour, and a website, www.thepowerhour.com.

In spring 2006, he began writing military officials, including then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, calling for action.

That August, he received a response from officials in Coronado, who made no promise to take action and said, “The Navy intends to continue the use of the buildings as long as they remain adequate for the needs of the service.”

In December, the now-defunct San Diego Jewish Times wrote about the buildings and the controversy.

Soon Casuto and Davis got involved.

Casuto began an on-and-off dialogue with the chief of staff to Rear Adm. Len Hering, commander of Region Southwest. He said that several members of the Jewish community had complained to him.

“I don’t ascribe any intentionally evil motives to this,” Casuto said, referring to the design. “It just happened. The Navy has been very good about recognizing the problem. The issue is over.”

Davis, who is Jewish, is also pleased with the Navy’s decision.

During a discussion with military officials on other issues, Davis had mentioned the Coronado buildings and suggested that rooftop photovoltaic arrays might help change the overhead look. The base gets 3% of its power from solar energy and has been looking to increase that percentage.

Reached in Versailles, Mo., vonKleist, the talk-show host, said he was ecstatic.

“I’m concerned about symbolism,” he said. “This is not the type of message America needs to be sending to the world.”

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what about hindu anti-defamation? the swastika is a sacred symbol to hindus, and by “camouflaging” it, they are doing a disservice to people (like me) who are trying to reclaim the swastika from people who think that it only means nazi.

let me make it very clear: the swastika has been around for thousands of years and it has only been within the last 100 years that it has meant anything other than good luck, peace and love! even the jews used the swastika as a sacred symbol: the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia says “The swastika appears on various articles excavated in Palestine, on ancient synagogues in Galilee and Syria, and on the Jewish catacombs at the Villa Torlonia in Rome.” there are swastikas that decorate the floor of ancient synagogues in tel hum (capernaum). from the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, again: “In modern times, anti-Semites have given the swastika a baleful significance by adopting it as their symbol; their claim that it is of “Aryan” origin is absurd.” the fact that the US navy is “camouflaging” their swastika-shaped building is an indication that they are buying into the common myth that it means something else.

i understand that it is a common myth, but that doesn’t make it any more right for our government to “disguise” a building that has been in existance since the 1960s, and it is offensive to me that they would disguise it solely because somebody found a satellite photo of it on internet.