Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It's a flag thing

Last week two big things happened.  It was July 4th, Independence Day for Americans, and France played against Germany in the World Cup, having reached the round of 16.  Which means that my apartment window sported an American flag and that some of my neighbors and local stores got their French flags out.
The local supermarket showing its colors.

Americans are flag-proud, maybe too much so, according to other countries.  But at least we aren't ashamed of showing it off.  Any old excuse is good, national holidays, of course, but also just because we feel like it.  Remi is always amazed at how many houses have flags outside in my mom's neighborhood back home. 

But France is another story.  Besides July 14th, Bastille Day, and some holidays celebrating war victories, you would be hard-pressed to find people flying "le tricolor" (as their flag has three colors).  Except when their football (er, soccer) team is doing particularly well.  To me this seems like the French only proudly display their flag when sports teams are winning.

Since France got eliminated from the World Cup, life is getting back to normal, and most flags have disappeared from people's balconies and yards.  But I snapped a few pics before they took them down.

I fluttered lonely as a flag.
I asked a student of mine why French people weren't so keen on flag-waving and she had an interesting take on it.  She said maybe people associate the flag with the French Revolution and more recently, with the Front National political party. This party is extremely right wing and at times anti-foreigner, and their logo happens to have a design similar to the French flag.  So, my student reasoned, flag-bearing can be associated with nationalism.  

Oh, dear, sometimes I think the French need to take it easy a bit!  But then again, the Germans don't always like singing their anthem, as it brings back some bad memories from WWII.  Each country has their own cultural baggage, like the Confederate flag in the US.

One good thing, Juliette can support both of her nationalities at the same time with
this dress!

How do you feel about your country's flag?  Is it common to fly it at any time of the year?


Holly Nelson @ English Girl Canadian Man said...

England is similar to France. Once I saw an England flag burned and put in the bin after a world cup lose a long time ago and it made me so sad that anyone would do that.

Lindle said...

In our neighborhood in Alabama, I noticed the flags came out shortly after 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan began. Many of us have kept them out because you do that when our soldiers are fighting. I've had my flag out ever since 9/11, and only took it down for a brief time in 2008.
It's not so much American pride for me, it's about supporting our men and women who are risking everything. There are also flagpoles nearby that are deliberately bent down to honor the fallen.
No country is perfect, and America has sins, but the flag represents our best intentions towards freedom.
To burn a flag over a soccer game is just plain stupid! It's just a game. It's not a war. Not really.

Den nation said...

Yes, I agree with your observations about flags in Europe. That said, I think Germany is much worse than France about displaying their flag. Displaying flags in Germany seems to be quite taboo. I had a second-hand blazer that had a tiny German flag sewn onto it and I got so many comments about that flag that I had to take it off. Even my husband's family told me that I had to take it off because they were worried that people would think that they were skinheads or something.