By Mark Bennett, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – To most of the world, the swastika is a diabolical symbol for sure – one that conjures images of Adolph Hitler, Nazism, and anti-Semitism. But what is a swastika? And what is the significance? The word swastika comes from the Sanskrit for well-being or luck. It has been used for thousands of years in Indian cultures and worldwide, and became a fashionable motif in the West in the early 20th Century.
Sadly, in the West, one thinks of the nation of Germany, WWII black and white movie reels of concentration camps, and Holocaust imagery! And rightly so. Interestingly enough, Germany is not the only country to bear this unique symbol. What other country would claim this unique characteristic?
In Finland, the swastika is the opposite – a symbol of freedom, independence; one of nobility and strength. Yet most of the world does not see it this way! Especially after Adolph Hitler adopted it. Before Hitler, however, the Finns took up the swastika in 1918, when the Swedish convoy Erik Fon Rosen leaked the arms of an airplane with that symbol and handed it to the Finnish White Army, which at the time was fighting for independence beyond the Red Guard, supported by the Soviets. Hence, Finland's air force has been using a swastika ever since, shortly after the country became an independent nation and long before Nazism devastated Europe.
Ironically, until 1945 Finland's air force used a blue swastika on a white background, but this was not intended to show allegiance to Nazi Germany. Far from it. Although the two nations were aligned, usage of the symbol by both countries was purely coincidental, but perceptions began to change as WWII faded into the past!
Lets fast forward to 2020.
Modern-day Finland's new leadership sees this historically significant symbol as a public relations problem – a symbol of another era. And according to Kai Meklin, Director of the Finnish Air Force Museum and a former air force pilot, "We often have to explain to visitors that our swastika has nothing to do with the Nazis," "The Finnish Air Force have used the swastika as a logo long before Hitler and the Nazis."
Meklin also adds, "Although the swastika has already been removed from the aircraft, the Finnish officers continue to use them without problems in uniforms and shutters. "For us, the swastika is a symbol of freedom and independence," explains Meklin. He is the first, however, to admit that others don't agree with him, and they see this symbol as most problematic, especially now that the extreme right in Finland is getting stricter. In fact, they believe the best solution is to leave it where they believe it belongs – in the past.
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