A country's flag is, on one hand, just a piece of cloth stitched together from homemade rags. On another, it's the banner by which a nation will distinguish itself among other nations, a symbol that allies will praise and enemies will curse. With so much riding on "just a piece of cloth," it goes without saying that a country should not take its choice of flag lightly.
The Down Under’s New Icon
The flag of New Zealand has remained unchanged for more than a century. Although it appears to be an innocuous representation of the British lineage New Zealand shares with Australia, the flag is also an uncomfortable reminder of colonization and genocide. As such, the New Zealand government decided it was time to replace the flag with a new, inoffensive design.
Image via Gizmodo.
In May of 2015, the New Zealand government held a contest in which its citizens chose the design of a new national flag from 10,000 potential designs. As of this writing, the contest came down to four contenders (seen in the image above). The public will vote on these four in November before sending the winner to face off against the current flag in March. It remains to be seen how the rest of the world will react to a new New Zealand flag, but the citizens of New Zealand have made it clear how ready they are for change.
Where have we seen THIS before?
Being the country chosen to host the Olympic Games is an honor fraught with controversy. Japan has found itself in the middle of a unique controversy as it prepares for the 2020 games. In particular, its logo for the event has raised quite a few eyebrows.
Image via BBC.
Critics have noted that logo’s use of a red dot against a white backdrop bears more than a passing resemblance to the Japanese flag. What has stirred up even more conversation, though, is the accusation that the T-shaped logo was plagiarized. As seen above, the logo bears a striking resemblance to a 2013 Belgian design for the Théâtre de Liège, as designed by artist Olivier Debie. Debie filed a lawsuit at the behest of the theatre, and Japan withdrew the design. Although Japan has yet to reveal a revised design, it’s safe to say that it—like the games themselves—will have the eyes of the entire world upon it.
Let it Fly
The New Zealand flag is being changed because it represents an offensive chapter in the country’s past, while the Japanese Olympic logo is allegedly a rip-off. If there’s one thing both of these cases prove, it’s that, in choosing an icon, it’s impossible to please everyone.