Monday, June 19, 2006

Flags and Symbols

I upset a few British nationalists or patriots or whatever a few months ago by being slightly critical of the blonde wrapped in the Union Flag on the Liberty Central site. It isn't something I can get terribly worked up about, but obviously a number of people do see flags as more than just a piece of cloth to be waved ar royal weddings and birthdays, or flown from your ariel during international sporting events. There is no doubt that in certain circumstances people believe a flag represents a complete culture or symbol of resistance. Not for nothing did the British use the Flags and Emblems Act to ban the Irish tricolour in the six counties of Ulster. I was struck by this paragraph by John Pilger in an excellent article on the plight of the Palestinians: "I was rewarded, on leaving Gaza, with a spectacle of Palestinian flags fluttering from inside the walled compounds. Children are responsible for this. No one tells them to do it. They make flagpoles out of sticks tied together, and one or two climb on to a wall and hold the flag between them, silently. They do it, believing they will tell the world."