Alpinist Yesterday, 28.7.12, Masakari and Alpinist decided to defer playing the ONT Grind’u Festival in Lithuania and we feel that it is important to provide an explanation for those that may have came to see us. When we arrived we noticed that a person was admitted into the festival with visible nazi tattoos: a white power celtic cross, hitler, and a swaztika.We confronted this and through our discussion we found that in the past this person was a leader of a nazi skinhead gang but had since left this mindset. It was explained to us how this person was living with this past attempting be active by engaging with people to discuss why the changes occured. The explanation was that the tattoos were not covered up because it engages people in conversation and the person is able to explain the story. From this we spent a lot of time discussing if we still wanted to take part in this festival. We did not feel that the decision to keep the tattoos visible was acceptable because of its explicit violent symbolism but at the same time this person was intent in our understanding of these life changes. In the end of this discussion we decided that we still wanted to play the show with the hopes to try to engage others in this dialogue. Immediately upon returning to the festival we witnessed another person admitted into the festival with a Reichsadler patch sewn on a shirt; we feel that its important to highlight that this wasn`t hidden it was clearly visible and shouldn`t have been missed or overlooked by the people at the door. At this point we decided that we could not be apart of this event. When we talked with the people who were affiliated with this festival we were asked to stay if these people were expelled from the event. However this was not because of any type of antifascists action but just because we were refusing to play. We feel this way because during our conversations with the people involved there were things said to justify these people when we explained our problems with the tolerance of these kinds of symbols:
„it is a pagan symbol“ + „these symbols mean different things in our culture“: we understand that these symbols were reappropriated by the nazis but these were directly affiliated with the nazi history
„it is just a style“: in no way can this be a justification, a style is an expression of distinctive attributes that characterize a person, which to us characterizes a person as a nazi no matter how someone tries to separate the use of the symbol and the hatred that it represents.
This is nazi sympathizing and we want no part in that.
We are sorry for those we may have came to see us, we hope to book shows in Lithuania the next time we are touring in the area, hopefully we can make it up to you.
Masakari // Alpinist