Sunday, September 19, 2010

LA Times: Hindu Swastika Sparks Controversy at Irvine Museum

Controversy flared up at Pretend City, a children's museum in Irvine, when a few visitors recently complained about a Hindu swastika woven on a tapestry in one of the museum's exhibits.

The offended visitors apparently were unaware that the swastika is an old religious symbol in Hinduism and that members of many other cultures around the globe revere it, among them some Native Americans. The swastika, however, was co-opted by Nazi Germany as the centerpiece of the Third Reich's flag.

The tapestry is part of the museum's "Home" exhibit, which is displaying a Hindu family's belongings. The exhibit rotates every six months and takes cultural objects from local family homes and displays them to the public, allowing Orange County visitors to see how different families live. The last family was Chinese and Vietnamese, and, in late November, the museum will put on an exhibit of an Orthodox Jewish family's belongings.

The tapestry had been on display since July 27, but was taken down temporarily on Aug. 31. On Wednesday, the museum put the tapestry back up and posted a related statement on Facebook. That's where much of the clamor about the swastika had been expressed through on-line comments that sparked a debate on the importance of education and cultural awareness.

"The complaints we initially received about the tapestry helped us realize that the static explanation of this symbol in the Home was not sufficient to effectively educate our guests about this subject," Pam Shambra, Pretend City's president, said on Facebook.

"We had heard from people that it was unpleasant to them," she told the Daily Pilot. "We felt that there was probably a better way we could communicate the symbol. We took it down and immediately started working on a better way to display it."
Read the rest of this mind numbing story here.

Comment: I read on BBC News a few days ago that 6 out of the 10 best universities in the world are in the US. Three of them: Berkley (#8), Stanford (#4), and the California Institute of Technology (#2) are in California (where this incident took place).

Still, some of the dumbest people in the world live blissfully ignorant in the Pretend Country. ;0)

An amazing contradiction huh?

4 comments:

Dade said...

Hi, Ridwan.

Yes, I remember seeing the swastika emblazoned on a Hindu temple in Delhi and being confused by it. That was back in 2001.

Interesting story.

Ridwan said...

Hi Dade. Thanks for your comment brother.

Hinduism apparently adopted the swastika after Buddhism started to decline in what is known as India today.

But, the swastika is also found elsewhere in history long before Judaism and Christianity in Celtic, Slav, and Greek cultures.

Hitler adopted the swastika in line with the "father" of race/racism Joseph Arthur Comte de Gobineau who used the caste system to construct his system of race.

I remember teaching this aspect in my undergraduate and graduate classes on race and racism in PDX and it always drew great surprise.

Hitler merely cribbed from Gobineau who stole wholeheartedly from Hinduism ... and that includes adopting the word Aryan.

As an aside it is interesting to read Gobineau's "An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Race" (1853) alongside Samuel P. Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" (1996).

A lot of Huntington's thinking is derived from Gobineau.

It was Gobineau who offered us the thesis that race mixing will lead to the downfall of the race system of civilization (particularly whites).

Huntington just substitutes race with civilizations ... same conclusions.

The West cannot conform to Islam and the other way around because it will lead to the downfall of each (Gobineau called it contamination).

G.W. Bush and his neo-cons consider Huntington a genius, of course.

Peace brother,
Ridwan

ps. I started writing and could not stop ... sorry :0)

Nolwazi said...

Who knew? Oh ya, you did.

Eintlek, why don't we have this kind of information in our education system? Could it be because we use terms like "eintlek"?

Sorry, very random morning I'm having. My (pretend) professor just summoned me to clear his desk since I have nothing better to do with my time. I mean, it's not like I have a dissertation and 8 assignmets to do anyway, you know.

But for real though, I want my hypothetical children to know this information. I want to know it.

When you enlighten us (as you always do), I get really scared for myself because I realise just how little of the truth I know.

School really "is a 12-step brainwash camp" (as your best friends said in their fake fake record).

Who would have known this truth about the history of the swastika? A religion's history has been wiped out by the (pretend) history that we've been taught in school and so it goes.

Am I making sense here? You get what I'm trying to say right?

Ridwan said...

Absolutely Nolwazi. You are making sense.

Poor kids (learners) under OBE and whatever is next in the wake Kader Asmal left behind.

A former student of mine in Portland who now holds a beeg guvment job in Oregon used to say:

"They sure did learn us nothing in school."

I wonder if he is hiring ...?

;0)

You need to check that professor.

Peace,
ridwan