Home / Op-Ed / Anti-semitism in the park

Anti-semitism in the park

author: marty scriver | contributor

credit: Vicky Sutherland via Twitter

 

And then some arsehole went and spray-painted a Nazi flag on the sidewalk.

Les Sherman Park is a beautiful green space in Regina, sandwiched between Pasqua and Elphinstone Street. Wascana Creek flows through on its way out of the city. The park is just north of Sheldon-Williams Collegiate, a Regina high school some of you readers may have attended. Families come to Les Sherman Park to spend time in the outdoors, walking or biking on the trails, enjoying this little microcosm of nature within city limits.

And then some arsehole went and spray-painted a Nazi flag on the sidewalk.

This specific graffiti incident in Les Sherman Park took place on Sept. 18. An unknown person, or persons, sprayed the Nazi flag on a walking path, near a ball-diamond in the park. Yes, in 2016, there are still human beings in Regina, Saskatchewan, who are immoral enough to take the time to draw an international symbol of hatred on public property. People are outraged, and for good reason. There is no excuse to not know better than this. This was an act of hate.

Let me offer some evidence for naysayers that this was a hate crime (isn’t it sad that there are so many people who deny that oppression and hate are alive and well in this world? Isn’t it sad I have to include “proof” to convince people?). First of all, the graffiti was the Nazi flag, not a simple swastika. A swastika has the slightest chance to be innocent, as it is a religious symbol; meanwhile, a Nazi flag cannot be mistaken for its meaning. The Nazi Party led a mass genocide in World War II of the Jewish people, and others deemed lesser than the “Aryan” race. The Nazis held a hateful ideology and made their beliefs a disgusting reality. There is nothing innocent about this group.

Next, the location of the graffiti indicates the perpetrator(s) wanted an audience. Les Sherman Park is a place for families, and in a melting pot of cultures like Regina, a family can be made up of many different individuals: people of colour, of a whole spectrum of gender and sexuality, of various ethnicities and backgrounds, and/or of different abilities. The Nazis massacred millions based on these kinds of markers. Did you know that beyond the six million Jews killed, the Nazis also murdered hundreds of thousands of disabled people, Serbian people, Romani, and thousands of homosexuals? It’s guaranteed some of the people who encountered the graffiti in Les Sherman park on the weekend would have been targets of the Nazi genocide in WWII.

Lastly, there is no questioning that the perpetrator(s) knows of the horrors committed by the Nazi Party. Almost every country in the world took part in World War II, and thus there are hundreds of countries that have WWII as a part of their history or social studies curriculum. If the majority of educated people today know of WWII, and potentially know of the horrors that took place, how can somebody be so callous as to paint the Nazi flag in Les Sherman Park? Because they are hateful, that is why. They can’t claim ignorance, or to have “meant something else” besides a hateful message. They hold rotten, prejudiced beliefs, and have resorting to defiling public property, likely because they know that displaying a Nazi flag outside one’s home could result in interference by the authorities.

I’m mad about this. You should be mad about this, too. As university students, it’s our prerogative as part of an institution of learning to be open-minded and accepting, or at the bare minimum, we should tolerate the differences of others. And, of course, educated individuals should think before they hate. To whomever painted that Nazi flag in Les Sherman Park: I hope you feel guilty for a very long time.

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