Weird and Unknown Flags from Around the World - #5
First published: Monday March 14th, 2022
Welcome back fellow JetPunkers and amateur vexillologists to the fifth part of Weird and Unknown Flags from Around the World. So, if you stumbled on this blog first, you can view the complete series here.
In the previous four editions, we saw a lot of weird, unusual and unknown flags from across the globe. An awful lot of them were about animals and all. Some were countries while others were cities or counties. Russia had at least one appearance in all the four editions we had done as of now.
Anyway, today is 14th of March – the second Monday of the month. Well, what's so special, you may ask? Nothing much, to say the least. Today is a day which is hardly celebrated anywhere in the world. It's literally just a holiday on paper, I mean no celebration, then what is its worth huh? Okay, I kept you in suspense for long enough. Today is Commonwealth Day! A day meant to, well, celebrate the former British Empire, perhaps? Kind of. It was formerly called Empire Day, that gives off the real intention to celebrate it. Over time, decolonisation followed and blah blah blah... it was renamed to Commonwealth Day. Essentially, it is a day to celebrate our shared history, culture and heritage.
I've bored you enough, I guess. What essence does this day has to me? The Commonwealth has been one of my favourite intergovernmental organisations! I would like to see it advance further into something more effective like the ASEAN or the EU perhaps.
Anyway, you get the idea. For today, we shall be looking at the flags of some of the intergovernmental organisations. Many of them happen to be quite well known, so I would try to find the obscure ones or those which have a good symbolism and design. LET'S GO NOW!!!
We begin our journey in South America. The Andean Community, as the name suggests, is an organisation of countries located in the Andes. The flag is basically just their logo imposed on a white field. From what I have found out online, the logo is based on indigenous Andean and Incan textiles.
Pretty solid flag it is!
We now land in Europe! But wait, this is not the European flag! As I had said in the beginning, I wanted obscure flags. This was a proposal for the flag of the European Union made in 2002, composed of all the colours featured in the flags of its member states. It is very aptly named the Barcode Flag.
Well, imagine if this would have become the flag of the EU! Who on earth would have the time to construct such a flag, say for international forums and all!? I am glad it wasn't adopted.
We now come to my homeland! SAARC is an organisation of the South Asian states. The flag, just like the first one, is simply the logo being imposed on a white field. The logo is actually very strange.
Upon closer look, you would find two hands and seven doves in between them. The hands represent friendship while the doves represent peace – something which SAARC couldn't really achieve. I mean, it has failed and... seems like a good topic for the future. I'll save that.
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth, the organisation which I was talking about in the beginning! It is basically an organisation of former British colonies (with some exceptions).
As the caption says, blue and gold make a great combination! On a blue field, a golden globe encircled by 34 spearheads forming the letter C. This version was adopted in 1976 and replaced a rather dull and complicated flag.
Moreover, this flag is very rarely talked about. Even the people from the Commonwealth don't know about it! Despite living my entire life in a Commonwealth country, never have I seen this flag in public. Not even once! Not even in Delhi!
We now land in the Nordic world! The Nordic Council is one of the most successful intergovernmental organisations! Its flag is simply beautiful.
On a blue field symbolising the sky, a swan is seen flying. This version replaced a rather boring "logo on white" flag in 2016, so it is a pretty new flag. It looks more stylish in comparison to the former design as well.
Doesn't it look like Lufthansa's logo?
Pacific Islands Forum
One of the many organisations of the Pacific Islands of Oceania. To put it simply, I think they could have done a better job by enlarging the logo and having it the centre of the blue field. A lighter shade of blue wouldn't hurt as well. In fact, it would have been better!
The CPLP, also known as the Lusophone Commonwealth, is an organisation of Lusophone (ie Portuguese-speaking) nations. Its flag is again a "logo on white" type but accompanied by a blue border. In the centre, the eight waves represent the eight members and the sea (which is their primary connection). The text was not required though.
Heh heh.. every once in a while, you come across a funny flag. This cutesy flag has an Arctic Fox with its tail rolled and sitting beside the Earth oriented with the North Pole in front.
It gives me Mozilla Firefox vibes! How about naming it Mozilla Icefox?
Red Lion and Sun Society
The Red Lion and Sun Society of Iran was the local Red Cross affiliate of Iran. You must have heard about Red Cross and Red Crescent. They work mainly to safeguard human lives in times of crises. There's a third one as well – the Red Crystal. Until 1980, there was a Red Lion and Sun as well; it functioned in Iran and was based on the former flag of Iran. It was discontinued in 1980 after the Iranian Revolution. Doesn't the lion look a bit... odd?
Organization of Ibero-American States
The Organization of Ibero-American States is, as the name suggests, an organisation of Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking nations of Iberia, the Americas and one from Africa (why did they add Equatorial Guinea into it is an unsolved mystery).
Its logo is also a mystery. I searched several websites but couldn't really find the meaning of the logo. It looks like a stick figure is getting ready for sumo wrestling. Or maybe it is an insect? Who knows?
Organization of American States
The Organization of American States is, well, not much known. However, its flag is pretty well known to vexillologists. Ask them why? Because of its sheer un-creativity! The designers of this flag are one step higher from the Barcode Flag of Europe and older too! Why bother coming up with a symbol when you can put in all the flags?
And for our final flag, we have the flag of the Francophonie, the French-speaking world, or the International Organisation of the Francophonie. It is a simple flag belonging to the same old "logo on white" category. However, what makes it different is the seemingly Japanese-inspired minimalistic symbolism in its logo. Five bands make up a circle to represent the five continents of the world. Wait, what? France follows the "six-continent model", but no one lives on Antarctica, unless you count the penguins and scientists living there. Hence, five continents.
And, that's it! The fifth part documenting the flags of international and intergovernmental organisations. There are many more! I limited them down to twelve to maintain consistency with the rest of the series. And lots of them contain either white or blue, symbolising peace and the oceans (or sky) respectively. Which one did you like the most? Is there any flag I missed which you think should have been here? Let me know in the comments!
Well, it's time to go now! And yeah, I wish a very happy Commonwealth Day to all fellow Commonwealth Citizens! May the Commonwealth develop into something better. Until next time, bye-bye! 👋
HAPPY COMMONWEALTH DAY!