A castrated lion – the perfect symbol for European defence policy
The proud motto of northern Europe’s crack rapid-reaction force is ad omnia paratus. Prepared for everything, everywhere. But the heraldic lion above the Latin tag now sends a less plucky message – he has just been digitally emasculated and, though technically still a lion rampant, he does not seem to be ready for anything, anywhere.
The change was implemented after a group of women Swedish soldiers protested that they could not identify with such an ostentatiously male lion on their army crest. A complaint of sex discrimination was then lodged with the European Court of Justice.
“We were forced to cut the lion’s willy off with the aid of a computer,” Christian Braunstein, from the Tradition Commission of the Swedish Army, said.
Most upset, though, was Vladimir Sagerlund, the designer of the crest from the National Archives. “A heraldic lion is a powerful and stately figure with its genitalia intact and I cannot approve an edited image,” he told öteborgs-Posten, a Swedish daily.
“The Army lacks knowledge about heraldry. Coats of arms containing lions without genitalia were given to those who betrayed the Crown.”
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