Hey, Kaunas. Yes, you, the temporary capital of Lithuania, the city that screams pride over your nationalism and how purely Lithuanian you are. Some asshole painted a swastika not 150 meters from your train station.
I’ve only been to your city twice since 1992, so I can’t tell you how long that thing has actually been there. I photographed it, but I’ll admit I’m ashamed to post it on my blog. I’m also frightened. I know a lot of people whose families the nazis targeted. Many of them are good friends. I want to maintain those friendships. They’re important to me.
I’m going to guess, just from how worn that wall is—some old storage and admin building to the west of the main station’s entrance—that it has been there long enough to endure some rain erosion and sun bleaching. In other words, it was not spray painted yesterday. Ironically, it’s right next to other graffiti. A yin/yang symbol. A goofy face, half-aggressive and half-comical, painted above the caption “Fuck You”.
Yes, those responsible are children, youths. And perhaps you feel there is no battling these powers. If you sandblast the swastika, another will replace it in only one night. I don’t know. But I could not help but feel horrible and disgusted while walking past it, utterly ashamed. It was not on a bridge or in a toilet stall, on the back door of a bar or the side of a dumpster. It was on the property of your main train station, in plain view, right before the station’s parking lot.
I’d say get rid of it, but you’d misunderstand me. It’s actually rather amazing that no one feels any shame about it, that no city official takes action, no neighbor complains. Putting that kind of shamelessness on display is phenomenal, and it points to one very serious need. The swastika on the wall is not the one I’m worried about. It’s the bonfire of hatred, fear and denial burning in your consciousness that scares the living shit out of me. It leaves me confused, defeated and speechless.