Response to Nazism at Suspension Espresso

Response to Nazism at Suspension Espresso

I am sorry to learn that anyone would have to see White Supremacist symbolism in Suspension Espresso. This is definitely not what the cafe was built for.

Before we opened Suspension, before we even found the premises I had a dream. In that dream was a quirky little cafe, with a glass topped engine block as a table, on a road crossed passed some train tracks. There was a sign on the wall saying:

"Elephants and thongs welcome."

To me, that was a statement about diversity. We wanted to make a space where there is no normal to be measured against.

Nazism is all about an ideal, a normal at the core of the philosophy which all are measured, ranked even, against. We do not welcome Nazis! Nazis can not exist in that space.

My father was a Jewish boy in Poland in WW2, his father was a dentist. When his family was rounded up and placed in a concentration camp the German army needed a dentist. My grandfather refused to work without his wife and child, so their lives were spared and they were moved to a prisoner of war camp. By a lucky coincidence the hut they were moved into had almost finished a tunnel out of the camp. The other prisoners beat my father, who was 6 years old as a test; if he cried, they were going to have to kill him before using the tunnel. He didn't cry and they allowed him to use the tunnel with his parents on the condition that at the other end they went their separate ways. One other person decided to stay with the family to help them. All the other were caught and killed, my grandparents, my dad and that one kind man were the only survivors out of 30+ people. They lived the rest of the war with the Russian partisans where my dad blew up German trains.

For my part, I was beaten by Nazi Skinheads several times, once at a concert in Canberra when I was 16. I was grabbed from behind and beaten unconscious, probably beaten more after that. My memory was affected for years by the concussion. I did not provoke the attack in any way that I knew of.

Obviously Nazis were never a part of the Suspension vision.

For my part, despite my history, I would not have recognised the symbolism on that man's clothing. Something obvious, a swastika, I would pick up on straight away but not these. I guess that makes it a form of dog whistle. Heard only by those intended to hear but going unnoticed by (almost) everyone else. But that does not make it ok.

Nazi symbolism should not be welcome, in the cafe, or anywhere else.

Did the guy know what the symbolism meant? The fact that he was wearing more than one would indicate he did.

Do I object to someone with Nazi beliefs drinking my coffee? Yes! I do. I oppose them with every fibre of my being.

- Mishka

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