LONDON, March 2 - The United Kingdom’s Raelian Movement is taking a firm stance on the controversy surrounding swastika symbols on the Essex County Hall in Chelmsford, England. Designs incorporating a decorative row of swastikas above a doorway were finalized in late 1926, and construction was completed in 1939, the year Nazi Germany invaded Poland, thereby launching World War II. A Freedom of Information request recently made by a British citizen who happened to notice the stone swastikas high above the street has triggered a heated discussion as to what should be done, or not done, about them.
“Those swastikas should not be touched,” said National Guide Glenn Carter, who heads the United Kingdom’s Raelian Movement. “People need to realize that the swastika symbol has been around since ancient times and that its original beautiful meaning was tainted by Hitler. Until it was hijacked by the Nazis, it had only positive connotations as a religious symbol or one conveying wishes for peace and good luck. While it’s unfortunate that its meaning was temporarily perverted by Nazi thugs, it’s time to get past that association and rehabilitate the swastika by restoring its original meaning.”
Carter explained that swastikas were traditionally painted over Hindu entranceways and used as decorations during festivals to invite the gods’ participation in the festivities. And in Indo-European culture, it was drawn on people and objects to bring good luck.
“It was also a prominent decorative motif for the Greeks and Romans and many other cultures around the world,” Carter said. “For thousands of years, it conveyed only positive things and was one of the most widely used symbols on Earth. It’s even found at many pre-World War II sites in Israel, which surprises people who don’t know its history.”
He added that the word “swastika” comes from Sanskrit, the language used for Hinduism’s most revered scriptures.
“In Sanskrit, it literally meant ‘it’s good,’” Carter said. “And for billions of people today, it still conveys only good things. It’s displayed prominently today in thousands of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain temples, and is also found on many Native American objects in the United States. But despite its honorable pre-World War II history, most Westerners associate it only with Hitler and the Nazis. We Raelians are working hard to change that.”