Very good piece on the politics of flags – with a link to the Korea flag incident at the Olympics – by Klaus Dodds and Alasdair Pinkerton.

Flags are one of the most powerful markers of national identity. Flags are flown on public and private buildings. Flags are carried by state sanctioned agents and vehicles, especially during national parades and exhibitions. Flags are an essential element in international diplomacy and yet precisely because they are so powerful (they can indeed stir the passions) they are frequently torn down, burnt and destroyed in violent protest. One only has to think how often we see images of American, Israeli and British flags amongst others being burnt or stamped upon by angry crowds. There is, for example, a tradition of the British flag being burnt and ripped by Argentine protestors in Buenos Aires (often outside the British Embassy) as a result of continued frustration over the British occupation of the Falklands/Malvinas. While such acts go unpunished in Argentina, in Austria the desecration of flags belonging to countries which which Austria…

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  1. Jeremy says:

    Reblogged this on Open Geography and commented:
    Via Stuart: interesting. My father’s profession was as a “vexilollogist” (flag expert) and he wrote his PhD on political symbolism in the flags of the Third Reich.

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