Tuesday, September 05, 2006

What does a flag mean to you?

To me a country's flag doesn't mean anything much. It's a symbol of a country, just like a company's logo. When i am in a country I expect to see a number of local flags, although the number varies rather widely with the country. In some places, for example the US or Norway, people display local flags a lot, in some countries much less.

I have never once imagined that displaying a local flag should be an affront to myself as a foreigner. In fact the whole idea was quite unfamiliar to me until this article.

In short: there are people in Turku, volunteers invited by one guy from the city council, patrolling the streets. They are dressed in blue-and-white vests with Finland's flag on their chests. Apparently some people find the flag suspicious, and there are comments like "no foreigner would dare ask them for help with these Finnish flags on their chests", "the attitude is clearly xenophobic", "this is provocative and racist".

What is so provocative and racist about displaying the local flag? Am I missing something, or is this some new trend, or did the paper just find some really weird people to interview?

No comments: