By Stu Salkeld Black Press
As a descendent of Norwegian settlers to Canada, I was a bit disconcerted this week by some Olympic Winter Games news. Although, whether it’s actually news or not is a matter of debate.
Ever wondered what U.S. President Donald Trump meant when he warned to be wary of “fake news?” I thought he was just a windbag full of hot air. I hate to admit it, but he may be right
This week a row erupted over designs on the Norwegian Olympic Winter Games ski team uniforms, or more specifically a pagan symbol that features prominently on the sweaters: the Tyr rune. The sweaters are made and offered for sale to the public by Dale of Norway.
Runes are ancient pagan symbols hailing from Scandinavia, used for inscriptions, religious ceremonies and other purposes by those historical troublemakers, the Vikings.
This week, social justice warriors pounced on the sweaters, claiming they’re promoting, encouraging or protecting Nazism, fascism and anti-Semitism, which, of course, is ridiculous.
According to SJW organization the Anti-Defamation League, a lobby group that typically and hysterically jumps on anything that may seem to have the slightest link to anti-Semitism, the Tyr rune was used by Nazi Germany as a symbol of the Third Reich. That is a fact; several Nazi organizations used Nordic runes to symbolize their organizations. For example the infamous SS used the lightning-bolt sieg rune to symbolize “the master race.”
The sweaters feature two runes, “Tyr” (which SJWs incorrectly describe as meaning “The attacking Viking.” Tyr is the name of the Viking war god but archeologists found it means “fame, honour,” and I would assume that’s the meaning Dale of Norway channeled), and the “Algiz” rune, which archeologists have yet to prove any ancient meaning for.
Archeologists know the runes were in use for thousands of years; examples have been found in Scandinavia dating to the first century Common Era, almost two thousand years ago. If the runes were already being used at that time, their development likely spanned hundreds of years before then.
Nazi Germany, including its leaders Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler, co-opted Nordic runes into their bizarre Aryan philosophy, along with the writings of occultist Helena Blavatsky, white supremacist Huston Stewart Chamberlain and lunatic Guido von List. Nazi leaders gave new meanings to old runes, claiming, for instance, the “Algiz” rune means “protection.” There is no archeological evidence to back that up. If anything, archeologists believe the rune may have meant “elk.”
In my opinion, I see nothing wrong with using the runes on bumper stickers, soccer jerseys, letterhead or anything else you wish. The Nazis taking our Viking runes away is cultural appropriation; nobody in Scandinavia gave Hitler or Himmler permission to use the Vikings’ pagan symbols. The Nazis stole them.
Sadly, in our modern social media world many organizations quickly cave to SJW attacks, justified or not. So, the question remains: is the sweater company going to fold faster than Superman on laundry day? That seems to be the strategy nowadays. Nobody seems to have the guts to stand up for themselves anymore. They simply throw in the towel because they’re afraid of bad publicity.
It was quite refreshing to read Hilde Midthjell, Dale of Norway’s CEO, quoted in the New York Times, saying she “vowed to face down any attempts by white supremacists to co-opt symbols that belonged to a shared Norwegian heritage. Neo-Nazis have marched with Norwegian flags. That does not mean we stop using that, does it?”
The runes belong to the Viking people and their descendents, the people of Scandinavia and those people do not have to forget their heritage because an evil empire placed the symbols on t-shirts.
Stu Salkeld is editor of The Pipestone Flyer and writes a regular column fore the newspaper.