It was a swastika. 

It is such a strange word. Even by English standards. Swastika. This odd combination of consonants and vowels makes for something almost as startling as the symbol itself. The symbol which lies burnt into the lawn before me on a particularly steamy summer morning. It is a peculiarly cruel form of cultural genocide to so bastardise a religious peace symbol. Peculiar still that I find this pyrotechnic graffiti in Omaha, Nebraska: a micro example of the city’s famous tradition. That being, the destruction of tradition. Out with the old, in with the new. Gentrification in Omaha takes on a meaning no other city could fathom. Excise the historical and lay out a new rug to forget. No memory to romanticise, no past to draw fear from. Only the newer and the better. A noncanonical interpretation of the American Dream.

If Omaha didn’t invent gentrification it has, at least, perfected the model, making it widely available and applicable. Packaged for home use, cultural genocide has been neutralised to the point of it almost being a fun family outing for the weekend. My roommate and I laugh with a nervous accent as we drive by the numerous gentrification projects at work all throughout the streets of Omaha.

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