Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Let's Talk About the Flag of Angola

I noticed the other day that the Angolan dude with whom I was playing online chess was represented by an unfamiliar looking flag. I was naturally expecting the familiar old Angolan flag that we all know and love:

This banner, you'd have to admit, embodies some of the core flaggy virtues. It is graphically simple and direct yet highly distinctive. It is immediately recognizable, and visually arresting. But it turns out that there are people, including possibly some actual Angolans, who have some reservations about this flag. Their criticisms are at least three.
1) The sickle and hammer concept is a little out of fashion.

2) Using a machete as your national symbol in an African republic could be construed as kind of, um, insensitive.

3) Perhaps most importantly, the flag descends directly from the banner of the largest of the colonial-era resistance movements in Angola, which subsequently became the dominant political party. Thus it is perhaps not the best symbol for a nation giving multi-party democracy the old college try.
A suggested alternative, and the flag that is being used by, is this:

The design in the middle is apparently derived from some famous Angolan prehistoric cave paintings, thus representing a tie to the ancient past.

It seems that is jumping the gun somewhat, though. I checked out the website of the Angolan Embassy to the United States, and there is no reference to this new banner to be found. In fact, I'd have to say that the embassy is still rocking the old flag's symbolism mighty hard.

There is, unsurprisingly, precious little media coverage of this issue to be found. The best I can do is off the Wiki, which sayeth:
Many Angolans dislike the flag proposal because they feel it has no real meaning, as opposed to the current flag which clearly has historical associations. Others are of the opinion that the proposed flag cannot be seen as uniquely Angolan because it resembles other national flags including the flags of Costa Rica and North Korea.
What do YOU think, gentle Vexillophilia readers? Allowing that the final decision is, of course, nobody's business but the Angolans'.

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