By William Beckford Phiri
Flags are national symbols. Every country has a specific flag as their national symbol. Zambia arose from an involuntary dark chapter of colonialism, and shook off the shackles of annexation, soaring bold “like an eagle in its flight.” Praise be to God! Praise our great nation! The origins of flags lie in ancient history. Originally, they may have been simple decorative streamers, or perhaps ceremonial images. Flags came to symbolize variously leaders, communities, gods, merchants, ships and towns.
A flag represents an idea, or an ideal. It is honored for what it represents. Many flags are held in high esteem for their history; forte sacrifices made by the people; for the qualities for which the country and the people stand. National flags symbolize the unchanging characteristics of a nation. Respect for the flag is an indication of patriotism. Public affirmation of loyalty to the flag is a civic duty. To fly a national flag is a sign of pride and patriotism. It is a positive affirmation of loyalty and commitment. It marks out a country that has confidence in itself, and is comfortable with its place in the world, its history and its future.
The Zambian flag was adopted October 24, 1964. Green represents agriculture, orange the country’s copper, red symbolizes the struggle for freedom, and black represents the people. The eagle is from the country’s official coat of arms. It stands for the nation’s conquest of freedom and the countries hopes for the future. A Zambian flag law states that the national flag will only be flown between the hours of sunrise and sunset.
I propose to the Government of the Republic of Zambia that we UPGRADE our national flag. The current design and model of our national flag does not embody the national development that Zambia has experienced in the last 50 years. I have attached a proposed redesigned flag that demonstrate on growth and national development. The EAGLE, our symbol of nobility and desire to soar above our challenges must take center stage in order to typify our resilience in confronting our difficulties.
I. WHY ZAMBIA SHOULD UPGRADE ITS FLAG
I do not suggest that Zambia should change its Flag; rather, I suggest that they upgrade it. It is perfectly right and proper in its symbolism, integrity, and meaning. The inevitable upgrade is necessary because;
1. The flags design is an off-centered standard. Although it depicts a correct embodiment of the repubic, the pattern is noticeably incomprehensible. Its uncanny design leaves much to be desired in this post-modern digital era.
2. Many other countries have placed their significant symbols in the middle of the flag, for example, Ghana has the Back Star in the middle, Kenya has the Shield in the middle, Canada has the Maple Leaf in the middle etc., etc.
3. The majority of the flag is green, making it objectionably dull and uninteresting. The overbearing green color is what initiated the change to the Libyan flag.
4. The orange color, representing, “mineral wealth” is exemplified in one of the three bars and also in the Eagle.
5. The orange color variations in the Eagle and one of the bars negatively contrast.
6. Emphasis of orange coloring goes against the government’s mandate of diversifying its economy from copper dependence.
7. When the wind is not blowing and consequently the flag is not “flying,” it is difficult and almost impossible to see the Eagle and the three bars.
II. COUNTRIES THAT HAVE CHANGED FLAGS
Canadian opinion regarding the use of clearly British symbols began to slowly change. As Canada began to act less as a colony and more like a nation, sending diplomats around the world, the need for a uniquely Canadian flag began to appear. The Maple Leaf was a popular symbol, politically neutral, and most importantly, not British .
Georgia has been around for a long time. However, Romans, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, Persians, and Russians all took turns conquering the land. It attempted to assert its independence during the Russian Revolution, only to be conquered by the Bolsheviks and absorbed into the Soviet Union. Eventually, it was able to secure independence with the Soviet Union’s collapse, and once it did so, it re-adopted the flag it had used during its short-lived attempt at independence 70 years prior.
South Africa’s flag was adopted in the early 1990’s. The country was in negotiations to end their racist system of apartheid, which was essentially racial segregation on steroids. One of the demands of the anti-apartheid African National Congress was the adoption of a new flag. The flag that South Africa had been using up to that point, while well-liked by white South Africans, was despised by the black majority as a symbol of apartheid.
The United States of America flag dates back to the American Revolution, but in another sense, America
has had more new flags than almost any other country. It’s all because of those stars – one per state. The
basic design is the same, but each time a new state was admitted, the flag was redesigned to
accommodate the new star.
Since its independence in 1964, it had used a flag with a rising sun. The country changed its flag to one with a full sun. The reason was that the long-standing “dawn” flag represented a nation that was still emerging and developing, while having the full sun on the flag symbolized that Malawi had emerged as a prosperous nation. The people of Malawi disagreed, and the Malawian parliament changed the flag back to the way it was before.
DEMOCRATIC REPULIC OF THE CONGO
The flag of the first Republic became the official banner after Mobutu established his dictatorship. This flag was used from 1966–1971. The previous flag was adopted in 2003. It is similar to the flag used between 1960 and 1963. The current national flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was adopted on 20 February 2006.
Libya’s old flag was known among as the world’s most boring flag – a green rectangle. Libya had a good reason to change its flag. They had a revolution in which they threw out the authoritarian regime of Muammar Qaddafi. The new flag is actually an old flag resurrected from the Kingdom of Libya which existed from 1951 to 1969.
To commemorate what he called a Bolivarian revolution after his election in 1998, Hugo Chavez, decided to modify the Venezuelan flag. As a reference to his revolution he added an eighth star. He also modified the country’s coat of arms so that the white horse would gallop to the left of the shield instead of the right.
The flag of Myanmar (Burma) was adopted in 2010 to replace the socialist flag. The change followed the 2008 change in the Constitution including the name of the country. The colors on the flag represent the virtues of solidarity, peace and tranquility.
My love of country is the motivating factor in suggesting that our flag be upgraded. Our flag does not need to be changed; but it is essential that it be upgraded to exemplify a post-modern society. Zambia has gone through tremendous transformation in the last 50 years. It is time that our flag is upgraded to represent and demonstrate our achievements; it is time that our noble EAGLE move to the center of our national symbol and characterize how we have soared from the time we declared independence from Britain. It is time that our boldness as a sovereign nation, is refocused and relocated to the middle. The remarkable and magnificent growth, advancement, and development in political, social, and economic disciplines are epitomized in the nobility of our Eagle; therefore, it can no longer be positioned in the right corner of our national symbol. It is expedient that it be repositioned and takes center stage. I hope and pray that you will consider my proposal. I am open to any suggestions you may have.