There’s more than one problem with the flag.
The first and most obvious is there cannot be first, second and third rate victims. ALL innocent victims deserve the same support. How can we be supportive of the victims in France, but not of the over 40 victims in Beirut the day before? What about the 147 that died in Kenya in April in a similar attack? What about over 250,000 dead in Syria (currently 100+ per day)? what about more than 2,300 Palestinian deaths in 2014 alone? Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan… the list goes on and on. Where is their facebook flag filter? Who’s lighting up monuments, stadiums and bridges for them?
Ok, so France is more familiar to us. What does that have to do with anything? Is a European life worth more than a life elsewhere? If you were from one of the countries where these kind of tragedies happen every single day, and saw the widespread international response to what has happened in France, and compared that to support for your country, how would you feel?
The second problem, is that the Paris incident is not an attack on a flag, a nation or it’s identity. It’s an attack on western imperialism in the Middle east that has been going on for over 100 years. The reason these terrorists even exist is largely due to the atrocities committed by NATO members, who constantly intervene to secure oil, gas and other vital resources. Who do you think sells the arms? Who do you think profits from their wars? Deals are done with authoritarian regimes that systematically violate human rights, whilst flags serve as backdrops for the media shot. Are the values they pretend to defend being applied then? No, absolutely not. And later, when someone goes crazy and straps a bomb to themselves, they want us to blame terrorism.
But of course, western first world governments will play on our emotions, telling us that our identities (the most important thing we have) are under threat by ‘terror’, and that we must stand together and be proud, but that’s not what this is about. These are just tactics to trick us into supporting the wars that governments and corporations have created, it’s got nothing to do with national identity. What they want is the green light to go in, take what they want, impose western values in the east and get paid for it, waving their flags every step of the way. This is exactly what happened with 9/11 and the patriot act, which led to a completely unnecessary war to remove a dictator that the US had previously supported and sold weapons to, for example. And there are many more.
I think when we use a flag in this way, we are sending the message that somehow our nation has more of a right to freedom and protection than others because of it’s supposed values, when actually, the values of the nation are extremely blurred. Let’s not forget that our nations were built upon invasion, slaughter, widespread plundering and slavery. A flag represents many things, including the heinous crimes our governments have committed over the years, which are partly to blame for the consequences. Surely there are other, healthier ways to show support.
Here’s something to be proud of: Not supporting a system that fosters terrorism and then uses it to justify it’s own wars.