The Rainbow Nation.

I am still in a whirl emotionally after our three week stay in the Western Cape. The nature was truly fabulous and was what we sought out most. That aspect of the trip was a great success. The culture of the area around Cape Town and Stellenbosch is perhaps not typical of the whole country. Stellenbosch, where we were based, is an old Dutch style settlement dominated by its university, tourism and wine estates. Its picturesque and comfortably familiar for a European visitor and that in itself was very odd. This is Africa, there are settlements all around Stellenbosch or what the locals call ‘the village,’ the houses are often pretty fortresses with electric fences and big dogs. Armed response security vans tour the middle class estates and everywhere are warning signs about the alarms. This comfortable whitewashed prettiness feels like a place under siege and that is very unsettling.  Continue reading

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The Mythology of Flags.

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What colour is this?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What color is this?

 

 

 

 

 

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What color is this?

 

 

 

 

 

Put them together and what do you get?      The Irish flag perhaps? Well no. This is not the Irish flag and there lies a tragic tale. People often call the Irish flag green, white and gold. It’s almost standard and it’s a myth. A damaging myth based on intolerance and sectarian divide.

 

 

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What color is this? Yes orange.

 

 

 

 

 

True Irish flag.

What flag is this?

 

This is the true Irish Flag. The founding fathers had an idealistic idea:Green to represent traditional Irish cultural identity and orange to represent the other cultural identity in the island with white to be peace between them.  A noble idea and one we have still not achieved fully and nor will we so long as people still refuse to acknowledge that noble idea by describing the flag as green white and gold instead of the truthful and meaningful: green, white and orange.

In calling it gold, refusing to say orange, they are disrespecting that ideal. Refusing it.

It’s time we started being bold and brave and using our flag with respect.