Volume 92, Issue 88
Tuesday, March 16, 1999
Disfigured flags are a disgrace
A national flag is a symbol of patriotism, culture and pride for the citizens and decedents of its country.
To burn, disfigure or even allow a flag to touch the ground is a disgrace to these ideals. The University Students' Council has chosen to ignore this symbol of respect.
This week has been designated as Cultural Caravan Week. To celebrate, the committee in charge has decorated the University Community Centre with national flags from around the world. Every country of the globe is represented and 172 national flags are mutilated with paint splashes. This is an insult to everyone on campus.
A national flag is the one symbol of culture and nationality which can be presented anywhere. Olympian gold medalists weep at the sight of their flag being raised. Soldiers fight wars with their national flag stitched on their uniform. It is a symbol of heritage. It brings emotion and pride to any individual from the represented country.
Western and nearly every other institution across this nation replaces their Canadian flags after wind, rain and snow cause this symbol of cultural pride to deteriorate and fade. Yet, the USC is willing to display flags which have been purposely mutilated.
In an effort to encourage multiculturalism, the USC has turned around and insulted the very concept it is attempting to promote. VP-student issues Pete Hill explained the flags have been used for years by the USC for occasions such as Cultural Caravan Week and are designed as artistic impressions of the genuine production. However, the reasoning for their presentation is to symbolize cultural respect, not interior decorating a paradox the USC has not yet figured out.
An American marine presented the Canadian flag at the 1992 World Series upside-down and the entire nation was insulted. The flag was not even mutilated a far worse crime. The same can be said about Western no individual can walk across campus with any national flag which is spray painted without stirring up emotions of anger. Apparently, the USC believes they have an overriding judgment on this issue.
The idea of stringing national flags side by side in the UCC is a great way to promote multiculturalism. It symbolizes nations standing together in unison. It promotes peace and fairness. The concept works, but the presentation of graffiti-marked flags does not.
There is no excuse for such a crime. If the USC cannot afford to purchase honourable flags, then find another way to promote the week-long event.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999