Published on June 4th, 2007
Recently, a young man was arrested and later prosecuted for wearing a jacket with the wrong symbols.
The local police department in VÃ¤rmdÃ¶, a suburb to Stockholm, Sweden, got a tip about a young man who would soon be arriving (with a local bus, I think), and that he would sport a jacket with inappropriate symbols. What was on the jacket? A Confederate Flag and an Iron Cross.
Allegedly, the police arrested the man as soon as he got off, took pictures of his jacket and then tore the symbols off. While I understand that these symbols probably aren’t the best ones to wear in public, I’m a bit shocked over the whole thing.
For those less educated, those two symbols are indeed used by Nazis respectively racists. But if you (and the police, and prosecutor) do your homework, you will soon realize that both have far greater and deeper meaning than that. And, more importantly, the original symbolism of either of them have nothing to do with Nazi Germany or Ku Klux Klan!
So, while I can relate to the fact that this young man’s opinions probably weren’t the most sympathetic I can’t fathom the way he got treated, and, even more, prosecuted. Also, he didn’t do anything, he only wore his jacket. Freedom of speech, eh?
Seriously, old symbols won’t become evil by default because someone with different opinions wear them (and yes, I know that it went overboard with the Swastika, but that isn’t necessarily true for every symbol in the world).