Monday, March 2, 2009

The Obverse of a Symbol of Fear

I have to admit, the first time I looked at this symbol, it perplexed me. I wondered what it meant. I knew it was a symbol of peace here. It's prominence throughout Korean culture is felt and marks the buildings for those who practice Buddhism or marks temples. The ultimate symbol of hate, intolerance seemed to overshadow the world when Hitler rose to power and transposed this symbol. That regime showed how something good can be twisted into the absolute representation of all that can be evil in this world.
Symbols are very important to all of us because they tie to us to a common focus or theme we want to identify ourselves with. Just as these symbols are displayed throughout this site, I pondered the craving for peace this region has.
What I am amazed with is how these temples managed to survive the Korean War. Why there is a lack of ancient buildings, and home sites is simple. War destroys. Peace builds. During the Korean War cities were levelled. As I have looked at the major cities, such as Seoul and Daegu trying to find the past thread of their cultures through their architecture, I am saddened to see all of the massive concrete structures that seem to lack that thread to the past.
It is why I walk along these places, and see for myself the Korea that once existed. The construction that was of a different time, before the divisions of ideologies and the interference of Russia and the United States made this state a divided region. Here you can imagine the memories of a different time.
Realizing that the swastika is really pink, not black...and pointed in the right direction...towards peace and love...towards life and not a symbol of death.


Anonymous said...

Seeing the symbol chills me, but I guess you have to realize that it was meant for peace. I imagine the Koreans who saw this on German soldiers (if that ever happened) would have wondered why they were wearing it. It's sad that a peaceful symbol will forever carry the taint of Hitler and his atrocities.


Marilyn said...

Yes, indeed startling that such a polarity it does in all things.

Thank you for your visit...