Sunday, June 04, 2006

The No Fly Zone

A few days ago, I was reading a very entertaining blog by Geoff who is an Englishman in Charleston. What is most entertaining is that his commentors are from all over the world and many have participated in his past shenanigans. Hmmm shenanigans is a bit harsh…antics isn’t quite right either…intense fun may be more appropriate. The comments left sometimes get off track of the actual article and they banter back and forth to one another.

The particular article in question was on the Southern H-Word and OXO cubes, but the comments veered toward the definition of a Yankee based on regional perspectives and issues involving flying the confederate and union flags. The main line of questioning that piqued my interest was
…why did they ban the confederate flag in America? I read somewhere that it is an offence to display it… is this true? Bit like the Union Flag over here:(
My response to this comment was that
…as for the confederate flag - SC did take it off her capitol building in 2000 and place a similar one at a memorial on capitol grounds…Displaying it can be offensive, but I don’t believe it is an offense.
I do find the confederate flag offensive. It is offensive because it brings about painful connotations to many southerners. It is offensive because it brings to my mind wild rednecks who claim it as a symbol of Southern pride and who seem to want to act like mindless teenagers or at least a character from the Dukes of Hazard. It is offensive because it depicts the South with imagery that is hard to overcome in its presence.

I am curious about the Union flag comment mentioned earlier. What is the deal with the Union flag? The only ban I can find is one that bans flying it on civilian boats. There does seem to be some sort of controversy with flying it upside down. Until I realized this, I really thought the Union Jack flag was more symmetrical.

On the topic of flying flags, I am reminded of another article I read last week by Consul-At-Arms. The author is a Foreign Service Officer currently posted in Kingston, Jamaica. Prior to entering the Foreign Service, he was a soldier serving in Iraq. The article, called Surfs Up in Babylon, mentions that Iraq bans flying the American flag. Not to worry, the troops find other flags to fly.

Looking more in depth into this alternate connotation of the no fly zone, I came across an explanation that included policy excerpts from The policy is
No one may fly, display, post or place the U.S. flag in, on or over vehicles, command posts, captured equipment, structures, buildings, monuments or any other location in Iraq.
I encourage you to read this article and consider the official explanation of this policy.

This ban on the American is one we should not find offensive if we consider the perceptions of the Iraqi people. We are occupiers of their country. We want to send a signal that this is a temporary situation. Flying our flag would send a mixed message. To those who are eager to find fault with our motives, flying our flag may be interpreted as a sign that we may are there to stay.

People fly flags for personal reasons that are not always known to the observer. In SC we are accustomed to seeing Clemson Tigers or Carolina Gamecocks flags everywhere, but some people seem to fly flags more for decoration than for any particular meaning.

What flags cause you to take offense?


Vera said...

Interesting question.

While the Conferderate flag is not for my cup of tea, I really don't care if someone displays if on a shirt, a hat, or on something they own. Some people have used it for terrible things, but others haven't, and I'm willing to just let it be.

What bugged me about it being displayed at the Statehouse because what flies over the Statehouse should represent all residents.

JanetLee said...

I agree with Vera. The only flags that belong on any statehouse are the flags of that state and the country. But I haven't found any flags displayed by individuals offensive.

geofftech said...

hey! you linked to me cool. only just picked up on it.

is it true that there were two version of "the dukes of hazard" when it was remade as a recent film - one version had had the flag on the top of the General Lee digital edited out in every single sequence!

Lisa said...

Vera & Janetlee - EXACTLY!

Geoff - Not sure on that. I have not seen the movie and have no desire too baed in the previews. My memories of Hazard County are all from watching the TV Series when I was a young teenager.

Pam said...

I agree with Vera - I think it's okay for people to display it personally - I just don't think it should be used to represent the state and/or country. Overall, I think it's pretty offensive - and I'm always skeptical of the "heritage" rationale. Deep down I don't trust the rationale - although I do feel that individuals have the right to personally fly the confederate flag. Just not the government that should represent everyone.

Editfish said...

I'm going to leave our shores and caveat that although some flags that are unquestionably offensive, the Nazi flag is the undisputed champion of bad taste. The sad thing is in certain Asian countries, certain portions of history have been overlooked or perhaps misrepresented, and it's not uncommon to see the flag reproduced on T-shirts or other merchandise.

The Confederate Flag unfortunately transitioned from it's rightful place in history to its present place in trailer parks due to its association with the word 'rebel', and the desire of some people to identify with that.

Similarly, 'Dixie' remains offensive to many in the African American Community, but some people think it's beautiful.

Bottom line: the First Amendment just won't relent, will it? ;)