Some silly UFO cult called the Raelians has proclaimed June 23 to be Swastika Rehabilitation Day. You can follow the link to a story from the increasingly depressing Huffington Post.
I'm sorry that such a silly group is championing this movement because I've always liked the swastika. When I was a kid, I used to doodle it. Teachers would get upset and I would superimpose an X over it, then fill in the resulting triangles to create a pinwheel. After getting into enough trouble for this, I changed my typical doodle to three triangles that shared a middle vertex, which looks something like the radioactive symbol.
I remember my interest was piqued because of old editions of Rudyard Kipling's work we had in our library. If I recall correctly, our Kipling books were grey with green circles, a gold swastika embossed inside it. All I knew about the swastika was the Nazi connotation, so I asked my father if Kipling was a Nazi sympathizer. He told me no, that Kipling's books were about India and the swastika was a symbol of life in the Hindu religion. If you look online, you'll see that the great majority of Kipling's most famous works were written prior to 1920, the year the National Socialists appropriated the symbol used by cultures around the world as their own. This is not the only thing the Nazis stole and sullied. They decided the word "Aryan" was a synonym for Nordic, when the original Aryans were people from the region we now call Iran.
It makes little difference to me if the word Aryan is rehabilitated or not. The people who call themselves Aryan now tend to be on the stupid side, and I have to laugh when they take pride in their non-existent pure Iranian heritage. On the other hand, I've always thought the swastika was an interesting looking symbol. It has rotational symmetry, and the eye is naturally drawn to symmetrical things. I wrote a comment to this effect on the Huffington Post and while several people appreciated it, someone also blamed the swastika for millions of deaths.
The symbol didn't kill the people. The symbol existed long before Adolph Hitler claimed it as his own. I would like to see it accepted for what it is and for people not to assume it must a sign of kinship with the scum who lead Germany to ruin, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for the rehabilitation to happen. The most obvious lesson about humanity today is how much energy people put into hating things. Nearly as obvious is how most people cannot divorce symbols from the things they represent. Those two flaws in human nature mean the swastika will have no place in "decent culture" for the foreseeable future.
4 hours ago