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ERIC BLAIR'S WORLD OF FLAGS


i shall use this valuable space to critique a world flag. i shall follow only this rule: stick to the extraordinary and the dreadful while ignoring the mundane. now, on with the flags!

Zimbabwe

5 October 2004

Formerly a United Kingdom possession known as Rhodesia, Zimbabwe gained its independence over a 15-year period between 1965 and 1980. Robert Mugabe, the nation's first prime minister and country's only ruler has dominated the political landscape.

Things weren't peachy, but they weren't chaotic either. That is until Mugabe instituted a land redistribution campaign in 2000 that caused an exodus of white farmers, crippled the economy, and ushered in widespread shortages of basic commodities.

Flag time line

But what about the flag? It's a busy banner with not one, not two, but seven horizontal stripes of green (which symbolises agriculture), yellow (mineral wealth), red (bloodshed), black (native people), red, yellow and green, with a white isosceles triangle on its hoist side. Inside the triangle sits a yellow Zimbabwe bird superimposed on a red star.

I'm all for colours and symbols, but this flag tries to do too much with all of those stripes. It reminds me of the various rugby shirts I wore as a lad.

However, as avid readers of this column know, I cannot totally condemn a flag with a bird. And this little beaked friend is a regal sort, sitting on a throne and looking away from the striped mess that lies behind him. And for that, the flag gets a half-star higher rating than it would have otherwise received.

2 stars

Next time: Belarus


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