I can’t remember if South Sudan is the 193rd or 194th country in the United Nations. Most have…even since 1945… Have been a colony of another nation…..At random, Dominican Republic, Angola, Algeria, Estonia, India, Phillipines, Poland have all been “owned” by a foreign imperial power.
It follows therefore that citizens of most of the worlds nations get a particular buzz out of the symbolism of a national flag. It is of course too glib to dismiss a national flag as a mere symbol….the really important thing is what is being symbolised.
On balance, in OFFICIAL terms, there is little shameful about the National Flag of Ireland. From 1848, it has been the flag of “republican” Ireland…significantly modelled on the flag of France and was comparatively little known in “nationalist” Ireland prior to 1916. Of course, the aspiration of peace (white) between Gael (green) and Planter (orange) is unreal….thnp flag has been over-used as a “partisan” flag in Norn Iron…..but nevertheless in global terms it is respected….
Indeed it’s marginalization in Norn Iron, where it will never appear on a Belfast hotel, never mind any official building endears me to it. I see no reason to change it except of course in the context of a United or Agreed (as we must pay lip service to that notion) Ireland.
The same respect cannot be afforded to the British flag. It has flown over ships transporting convicts from England to Botany Bay. It has flown over ships transporting slaves from West Africa to the Carolinas. It has flown over concentration camps in South Africa. It flew over the courthouse where the enquiry into the Amritsar Massacre was held….and the Coleraine courthouse where Widgery conducted the enquiry into Bloody Sunday.
Then and Now? Hardly. No amount of wrapping the British flag around Mo Farrah and Jessica Ennis can wipe out its history and baggage as the Butchers Apron.