Bed and Beyond – Way Beyond

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A MUMBAI (Reuters) – India’s small Jewish community is up in arms against a home furnishing maker that has named its new line of bedspreads “NAZI” and used the swastika in its promotional brochure.

The furnishings dealer says the word “NAZI” stands for New Arrival Zone of India, but local Jewish leaders insisted the name rang of Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitic regime.

The NAZI-named bedspread is being sold at stores in India’s financial capital Mumbai. The new product is promoted with a brochure that displays two red swastikas against a black background.

The brochure reads “Bed and Beyond presents the NAZI collection” with the expanded form of the word written in a very small font. The cover has a picture of two red cushions and a red bedspread.

from Reuters

All of the elements in this story have innocent explanations. The swastika (from the Sanskrit svástika स्वास्तिक ) was a revered symbol in India centuries before the Nazi’s adopted and corrupted its original mystical meaning. It is also a sacred symbol in numerous native American iconographies.

According to Wikipedia “Archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates from the Neolithic period. It has long been widely-used in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Hindus often decorate the swastika with a dot in each quadrant. In India, it is common enough to be a part of several Devanagari fonts. It is also a symbol in the modern Unicode and is often imprinted on religious texts, marriage invitations, and decorations. It is used to mark religious flags in Jainism and Buddhist temples in Asia.”

And of course, NAZI is just an acronym for “New Arrival Zone of India”, but it could just as easily be “National Alliance of Zion, Inc.” or “National Archives of Zanzibar Island”.

However, the juxtaposition of the two is, as they say, beyond a reasonable doubt, beyond the pale, and way, way beyond the bed.

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