Friday, June 11, 2004

Flagging Again

So there’s St. George’s flags everywhere.

I’m a bit bitter about this. About 4 years ago I was in my first year at uni, sharing a gorgeous new hall with about 50 other students. We bonded quite well and decided to decorate the large front atrium to our modern block with a large St. George. The halls opposite followed suit with a large union flag. Another resident was half –Egyptian and loved the idea of being proud of your country and put up an Egyptian flag while our Norwegian residents proudly displayed their country’s flag. We were all quite proud – it was like a little global village in a quite corner of the Cotswolds.

That was until the accommodation officer of the university ordered us to take it down. His reason? It was inciting racism and making international students feel uneasy.

What?! Yep this narrow-minded soul felt that as the symbols of Great Britian had been adopted by the BNP that they now promoted them and not our country – with that attitude then the BNP have won. We were trying to display the flags for what they are – a proud symbol of our country.

Thankfully the international residents complained that it was unfair – they were allowed to display their flags why couldn’t we? Still the uni didn’t give in and the red & white came down.

Go to the US and you see the stars & stripes proudly aloft on every street corner. They love their flag and behaviour like that above would be frowned up on in the states. Admittedly I feel the current displays of St. George are for shallow reasons – a dumb football team rather than a true celebration like 60 years of D-Day but at least people are slowly waking up to what the symbolism is. We must reclaim our national flag from the narrow minded and the racist hooligans. If we keep flying the flag it will, once again, become a symbol of pride and a symbol of a Great Britain that welcomes all nationalities with open arms.

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