Thursday, August 10, 2017

ICV 27 - Speaker 21: Bruce Berry

Bruce spoke about the old green Rhodesian (Zimbabwe) flag and all the modern issues that follow.  Bruce's paper was entitled The Beloved Green and White - (White) Rhodesia's  [Modern day ZIMBABWE] Search for a Unique Symbol of Identity.  

Although Zimbabwe was the first 'white colony' to leave the Empire since the exit of the United States in 1776,  the story of its independence is topsy-turvy.  Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia was considered on the UK's most loyal subjects.  They were the first nation to declare war on Germany in 1939 during WWII, remember that the USA entered at the tail end of of 1941. 

The declaration of Rhodesia's independence was passed with Parliament of UK's consent.  On November 11, 1986 the first flag of Rhodesia was flown, the tribar of green-white-green with a coat of arms.  However many of citizens of black-Rhodesia were terribly upset and saw it as the 'White-man's flag.'   Eventually Rhodesia was of the few colonies to revert to the Union Flag of the UK in 1980 for a short while. 

Today, many of those persons of white heritage who lived though that turbulent era, look back with a  certain kind of fondness for the old green and white flag.  Most white Rhodesians (Zimbabwians) see it in nostalgic, non-extremist, almost friendly cultural sense. 

However many extreme white pride organizations have projected this flag as an inflammatory racist symbol.  This unfortunate reputation was further abounded when Dylan Roof perpetrated the mass murder at Charleston, South Carolina Church Emanuel African Methodist Church, on June 17, 2015.  Roof had photos of himself next to Confederate, South African, and the old green-n-white Rhodesian flag.   Sadly this flag's association with hatred and suffering was further ingrained in the collective mind. 

But surely as time passes, views of the flag will perpetually change. Perhaps its best to focus on the positive?

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