Red flags don’t wave away exploitation, Buddhist flags don’t confer enlightenment and national flags don’t make nations.

 

MALINDA SENEVIRATNE

 

Gaya’s Intro:  May Day rallies, dancing around maypoles and flags in all shapes, colours and sizes mark the month of May.

Yesterday I passed by a farmhouse in the tuscan countryside that had a dual flag one above the other; a common sight over here . The flag below was the Italian green, white and red flag of the Republic and above it a flag very similar in colour to the Buddhist flag with one word on it: PACE ( pah-che) as in Peace. The dual flag is an improvement on the national flag. There is no compromise of the national identity in the Universal Value Flag of Peace flying above it, only an affirmation of a value held by Italians. I think this is a great combo. We would have to use the universal flag design though cos designing a new one would result in certain death of the concept. Then comes the language issue : I suggest  Samadhana 2012 Benefit Reading Series Peace,in one graphic element not walking all over the design.

I still remember the chant we learnt as young children 8 or 9 years old when we painted the buddhist flag for Vesak in May. I went to a governmnent school in Moratuwa up until Grade 5, taught by monolingual as well as bilingual teachers who used to tell us Nil-Kaha-Rathu-Sudu-Thambili.That was it; a great way to learn your tables, ten commandments and all else that goes into the long-term memory.

Born a Christian I studied Divinity as it was called and was not brainwashed or anything and loved the Buddhist flags, which made a colourful pennant-line waving against the giant Bo tree on Beach Road; a pleasant sight on the walk home from school everyday. There was a mere whiff of handun kuuru ( incense-sticks) in your senses as you pass accompanied by the swishing rustle of thousand-upon-thousands of heart-shaped bo leaves rustling together in those playful breezes that blow in from the Indian Ocean.

A really good-read blog from Malinda below !

May is for flag-waving

MALINDA SENEVIRATNE

May is a month of flags.  May comes wrapped in red, the signature color of protest, of labor, trade unionism and left-wing politics.  Later May moves from single color to multi color with the advent of the Vaishakya Mangalyaya, Vesak, commemorating thethemagula (birth, enlightenment and paribibbana) of the Buddha Siddhartha Gauthama, most of the country decked in the colours of the Buddhist flag along with lanterns, thoran (pandals), dansal and other decorations.

 There was a May that came three years ago when one flag obliterated the usual colours of Vesak.  That was when the country was rid of the terrorist menace.  It was the lion flag, of relief and celebration (mis-identified by some as ‘triumphalism’) that fluttered in the four corners of the island and across the length and breadth of the land.  Time passed and May was May, red on the 1st and blue, yellow, red, white and orange on Vesak Day.  This May was different.  For ‘flag-reasons’.

There were two flags that need to be flagged here. First, an LTTE flag spotted in the UNP-TNA May Day procession.  The organizers have since claimed that it was a put-up job by a state-run TV station.  The second was the national flag that TNA leader R Sampanthan held in his hand and waved. Read More

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