Carol Shapiro, of Los Angeles, was shocked and appalled to find blue swastikas adorning an otherwise innocuous roll of wrapping paper at her local Walgreens store.
“I saw it immediately. I think I have a good eye,” said Shapiro, who has insisted that the chain follow through with a nationwide recall.
“I’m still very upset about it, that something like this could be on the market,” Shapiro continued. She said that she told her rabbi as soon as she got home, and that he, like her, couldn’t believe it.
The manager of Shapiro’s Walgreens removed the wrap immediately, and company spokesman Phil Caruso said that the Walgreens was in the midst of a recall.
Caruso couldn’t say how many rolls the company had on its shelves, or what would happen to the blue-laced paper once it had been removed.
Some folks, though, are arguing that this whole thing has gotten bent way out of shape.
Pro-Swastika, a group dedicated to getting back to the original meaning of the symbol, thinks that the Walgreens Controversy is just another misstep in a long line of them. Pro-Swastika president Kaenzig has issued the following statement:
It’s unacceptable for us to see a major U.S. retail chain ban this symbol that is so dear to billions around the world. Would Walgreens dare to remove gift wrapping containing crosses if a Native American complained that his culture suffered enormously under the Christian cross? And what about an African American whose ancestors died at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan in front of a burning cross?…The swastika is still a holy symbol for billions of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Raelians. Long before it was unjustly hijacked by Hitler and the Nazis for ill purposes, it was revered for thousands of years as a religious symbol and a sign of good will. It can be found worldwide in architectural features and decorative ornamentation of all kinds, including in Jewish synagogues. It can even be found in many places in Israel.
Ridiculous cross comparison aside, Kaenzig does the symbol a service in pointing out that it has a rich and positive history completely separate from Nazi desecration.
So, who’s right? Can we redeem the swastika? Or ought we just let this one die, and–in America at least–find a new symbol to rally behind? What do you, the viewers at home, think?