Will Victorians Ban the Letter ‘Z’ Next?

Shôn Ellerton, June 24, 2022
The Australian state of Victoria bans the Swastika, but will it backfire?

Oh, yes! The state of Victoria in Australia has done what it seems to do best, yet again. Suppress by force anything it considers problematic with grease lightning efficiency, paving little way in the thought that it could backfire.

Taking one example. Just last week, the state of Victoria reversed its vaccination mandates for school teachers after, surprise surprise, there have been acute teacher shortages after hundreds were laid off for refusing to take the vaccine. And now they’re trying to entice them back to work again.

Enter Victoria’s new little kneejerk reaction to the purportedly rising cases of Nazi hate crimes by passing the Summary Offences Amendment (Nazi Symbol Prohibition) Act 2022. And just as I was writing this, the mainstream news breaks out with a little story that Tasmania’s government wants to pass a bill to make protests illegal. Like most of us, there are some protests we support and some we do not, but it does seem somewhat undemocratic and authoritarian in nature to make them downright illegal. We’ll wait to see what happens there!

In summary, the act prohibits anyone from publicly displaying the Swastika. You know the one. The Hakenkreuz. The bad one misappropriated by Hitler’s National Socialist Party of Germany. The one tilted on its side going clockwise, and let’s just break the myth that only the bad one goes clockwise. And while we’re at it, the import of the word Swastika denotes all that great stuff including health, prosperity, luck, and goodwill originating from the Sanskrit well before Christ was born. So, according to the act, it’s fine to publicly display the Swastika if you’re a Hindu, Buddhist, or a member of the Jain religion.

Surely this can’t backfire, or can it?

I can picture the headlines already.

“Large heavyset bald man with tattoos driving ute with Swastika bumper stickers claim unlawful arrest by police after declaring he is a follower of the Hindu faith.”

“West Melbourne suburb sees ten-fold rise of Nazi graffiti after reports of right-wing gang ‘dare’ initiations.”

“History books with Nazi insignia removed from bookshops despite being allowed under the new ruling.”

“Mysterious ‘Z’ symbols can be seen popping up out of nowhere”

Let me ask the question.

If I was a robber, about to rob a bank, would I, in all seriousness, walk into the bank wearing one of those shirts with horizontal black and white stripes while wearing black eyepatches and carrying a conveniently sized black burlap bag in which to carry out a laundry-load of cash?

I would expect not.

What would the response be? General laughter I assume, though there might be that one person behind the counter who might be thinking differently on the lines of:

“Surely, it’s so conspicuous that it just cannot be a joke and he’s going to pull a gun on me any moment now.”

Yep, he’d push the panic button no doubt.

Imagine walking by a group of hairy-chested beer-bellied men bedecked with Swastika tattoos wearing jackets embellished with such slogans like “Hitler is my friend”, “Whites rule, OK”, “Bring back the KKK” or something outlandishly offensive like that.

Now, bearing in mind that the bill was introduced to try to stem the rise of Nazi-induced hate crimes, the first thing that comes to mind is NOT

“Oh, my goodness, now here’s a gang of ultra-right-wing organisers who want to subvert the state and re-introduce Naziism dogma to the masses.”

No.

Two things come in mind foremost of all. Either these are extras about to play out in some new Romper Stomper kind of a movie or they’re a bunch of seething, certifiable, and idiotic morons which like nothing better to do than to attract undue attention. I guarantee you if a small group of men of African origin sauntered by, these idiots would hush up like clams and just stare at them and they would look back sympathetically thinking what a bunch of sorry clowns they are. The Chinese would probably go one step further and sit among them enjoying a picnic as if there’s nothing interesting to see here.

We’ve seen this all before. Organised protests of extremist groups. Naziism. Antifascism. BLM. Anti-BLM. Trans rights. Women’s rights. And so on. The troops on the ground are the pawns, but the instigators above, most of them highly intelligent and well-read, will not be encouraging their sheep to tout banners, donning white pointy hoods, wearing insignia of difference and hate, especially those like the Swastika painted in bright red colours on their person. Only the following idiot masses would do this.

I’d like to think that most everyone knows a little bit about the history of Naziism, or at least, have knowledge of the most egregious episodes that resulted from it, especially the Holocaust, a subject which, as unfathomable as it sounds, is still being denied by some as a fabricated lie. Will banning the Swastika or making it punishable by up to 12 months in prison an answer to reducing Nazi-fuelled race-baited attacks? Wouldn’t it just be replaced by something that means nearly the same thing? Like the Z military symbol which we’ve seen used during the recent Russia-Ukraine conflict, taking its meaning from sZastika?

Now what happens with respect to the new law? A new amendment to ban the capital letter Z when used by itself? What about other symbols which allude to events in history that have involved killing thousands of others who don’t comply to cultural, religious, and political ideologies or those with such immutable traits like not being the right colour?

The ISIS symbol? The Hammer and Sickle? The Confederate flag?

So, if it’s not going to curtail Nazi-induced racial attacks in Victoria, what’s the purpose of passing this law?

It’s obvious. It’s offensive!

Let’s be clear. This law was put in place to make it criminally illegal for someone to offend. And what better way to instigate it then by using the Nazi Swastika as a means of pushing it successfully into law.

On the radio, prior to the law being passed, an interview took place in which they discussed what symbol publicly displayed could be deemed as criminally offensive using the proposed law as a guideline. The example cited, I kid you not, was a statue of Jesus shrouded in a giant condom prominently placed on the street pavement in full view of the nearby Catholic church. Now, hazard a guess, this could conceivably offend someone of the cloth, depending, I suppose, which religion that someone belongs to. But does it constitute it enough to be considered a punishable hate crime within the compass of the law?

Like many of these often well-intentioned laws that are placed to promote a more peaceful society, they are either often put there without much thought of how this could backfire or they were put there as means to set a precedent and establish law that punishes offence and curtails freedom of speech and expression. I suspect the latter because, surely, if it was the former, someone would have had to have been so ignorant and stupid to realise that there are other symbols of hate including that of the aforementioned letter Z.

“Doh! We forgot about that one, didn’t we?”

The irony is that Victoria has enacted a law to suppress a symbol used by Fascist Germany and yet, the antics played out by Victorian police during the pandemic were startingly like the tactics used by Nazi stormtroopers.

Now don’t get any ideas on getting started by making big bucks selling T-shirts with Z plastered all over them!

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store