Archives for category: Swastika

subway seat graffiti

I take my children to school each day via the subway. One morning a week or so ago my six-year-old daughter excitedly told me I had just sat upon a square and to stand up so she could show me. And this is what I saw: a swastika in black permanent marker. But at second glance, I saw something else. Some other subway rider had whipped out her ballpoint pen and filled in the corners of the swastika to make it look like a square. And then she added peace symbols and hearts in the quadrants.

“What’s wrong Mommy? You don’t like the picture?”

Here’s what my first-grade daughter knows and understands so far:

  • She is Jewish
  • Her father is Israeli
  • Her mother (me) is writing a book about her Savta’s extraordinary life (savta is Hebrew for grandmother)

“This is a swastika,” I said. “It’s a symbol of the nazi party.”

(I just now decided that I will not capitalize the “n” in nazi because it somehow legitimizes them; it’ll be capped in my book though, I’ll make sure my editor makes sure of it…).

“The nazi’s wanted to kill all the Jews and they succeeded in killing a lot of us, including some of your relatives. That’s why I’m writing a book about your Savta.”

“How come you never work on the book anymore?” she asked.

How could she have known? (Kids always know). I had spent the last few days contemplating whether or not to leave my job as an editor at BBC to work fulltime on my book. I had taken the position in December 2013 and have barely touched the book since. I miss it. I crave it. I really, really, really need to get back to my book.

“Well, I work fulltime and my life is really busy. I’d like to get back to writing my book,” I said. “What do you think? Should I leave BBC to work fulltime on my book?”

She looked away and then down at the ground.  I could see that she was really thinking about how to respond. And then, “I think it’s a decision you have to make, Mommy.”

Well knock me over with a feather! Holy sh*t! I laughed and hugged her and said, “Thank you my oh-so-wise daughter.”

A week or so later I resigned from the BBC. I’m exhilarated about this decision and as of May 8 I will have a new fulltime job: to complete the manuscript for “What Happened to That Baby.”

For those of you who have been on this intermittent journey with me, please continue to check back. I will try to post somewhat regularly. For those of you who are just joining, welcome! I hope you’ll come visit once in a while too. I encourage discussion on these pages, but I do moderate all comments before posting. Please be respectful and no ad hominem attacks. These are very charged topics but there are ways to engage without resorting to intolerance and hatred.

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peace and love



What’s scarier than an angry flash mob? An angry flash mob of Neo-Nazis carrying torches.

As shown in the CNN video above, hundreds of Neo-Nazis wearing black robes and white masks take to the streets at night spreading their hateful rhetoric. They organize themselves entirely online and via text message, which reminds me of that famed New Yorker cartoon where one dog says to another, “Online, no one knows you’re a dog,” but in this case it’s with a perverse twist: “Online, no one knows you’re a Neo-Nazi.” Actually, they do. Because the Internet provides false anonymity, they feel emboldened to spew their hatred as a group. And offline, of course, they feel the need to disguise themselves. (Honestly, to me, they come across as scarier versions of the Phantom of the Opera.)

“It is a frightening scene that resembles the Nazi torch marches of the 1930s,” reports CNN’s International correspondent Isha Sesay. German officials say this group, which goes by the self-appointed moniker, The Immortals, is a serious and growing concern.

Professor Hajo Funke of the Free University of Berlin, who appears on the CNN clip above, The Immortals have already attacked people and institutions and are a group “not without violence.”

And of course, they are using modern technology to its full advantage by recording video of their marches and then uploading them to YouTube. Before they do that, though, they head to the editing room and manipulate their footage to full effect and add haunting music to the audio track.

I don’t want to link to it (I watched 10 seconds of it and almost vomited on my keyboard) but if you want to find it, type “The Immortals. Bautzen, Germany, May 2011” into YouTube’s search bar. Forewarned though, you’ll want to have a barf bag at the ready.

Credit: Brynn Evans

Finally, the kind of swastika graffiti I like: Anti-swastika graffiti! Found it during an image search for my last post, “8-year-old boy transforms hate in his own neighborhood“.

UPDATE (2/10/12): I heard back from the photographer and she said the photo was taken on a trip to Florence, Italy, in 2008. No story behind it. Feel free to make up your own and post it below. 🙂

I sent an email to Brynn Evans, the photographer, asking for the story behind it. If I hear anything and it’s worth sharing, I’ll be sure to amend this post and let you all know.

Related posts:
You Cannot Wear a Swastika Ironically
Good Jewish Boy, Also Loves Swastikas

A nice story on Huffington Post today about an eight-year-old boy who saw a purple swastika on an advertisement and decided to do something about it.


He went home and made a pink heart and wrote, “Choose Peace” on it. Then he posted it on the ad, covering up most of the swastika. Nice job, kid. And nice job, Mom.