Corey Fleischer, the founder of Erase Hate, has made it his mission to remove hateful messages and graffiti in Montreal and its surrounding areas. This week, Fleischer was informed by a citizen of the small town Pointes-des-Cascades, Quebec, of anchors in a public park that were emblazoned with swastikas which needed to be painted over. When Fleischer attempted to paint over the anchors, the village’s mayor called the police explaining to Fleischer he couldn’t remove swastikas from a park, because “they are part of the local history” as a Nazi relic. Oddly enough, the anchors were found on a merchant boat in 1980, so not explicitly a piece of Nazi history.
As reported by the Daily Mail:
The open-air museum in the small town features dozens of historical anchors, including one with a swastikas engraved on it.
‘I decided to remove the paint around the swastika that the city had painted on this ancient World War Two anchor,’ Fleischer told CTV Montreal. ‘To have such a sign of hate in a public space is completely unacceptable.’
The local mayor, Gilles Santerre, spotted Fleischer and called the Quebec provincial police, saying the swastikas were part of local history and could not be removed.
Police then arrived and stopped Fleischer from covering them up.
There is a small plaque below the anchor but it does not give a lot of historical context.
It identifies it as a ‘souvenir of Nazism’ and says it was used in Europe at the end of War, probably on a merchant boat, and found in 1980, and therefore is not a Nazi relic.
‘The village of Pointe-des-Cascades does not endorse Nazism,’ said Mayor Gilles Santerre in a statement online.
‘Our village has a beautiful community and family spirit, and creates events that bring people together.’
The mayor also argued that before 1920 the swastika was a peaceful symbol.
Fleischer countered when he said: ‘There is zero place for any swastikas in any public parks, right across the world.
‘It is no longer a sign of peace. It is no longer a sign of joy.’
The village has about 1,500 people and is located about 50 miles from Montreal.
Watch the video of Fleischer’s confrontation with police. What do you think of Fleischer’s rationale behind the painting of the swastikas? Given that there are still cultures that use the swastikas as a peaceful symbol- is he right to say it’s depiction should be eradicated worldwide? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
(Article by Tasha Sharifa)