Není vlajka jako vlajka

From today's Týden

Village didn't have an EU flag, so they found a different one

In Vikantice in the Jesenik mountains, they didn't get a European flag. Instead, they flew the banner of Alaska, which is very similar to the EU standard. Immediately before the start of the elections, the Interior Ministry learned of the situation; what followed looked like a comedy of errors.

There is a shortage of blue flags with twelve stars in the Czech Republic. Nonetheless, the election law says that polling places must be marked by an EU flag. The mayor of the small town of Vikantice in the Olomouc region found his own solution. 'At the company where we wanted to order [the flag], there was a two-month waiting period and I really didn't have time to drive around the country looking for a flag,' said Mayor Miroslav Kročil. He first considered calling off the elections entirely, but then came up with an idea worthy of King Solomon. He hung an Alaskan flag at the polling place.

The difference isn't great. The Alaskan flag has yellow stars on a blue field, but twelve instead of eight, arranged not in a European ring but in the shape of the Big Dipper and the North Star.

'They've had this flag in Alaska since the 1920s. European heraldists weren't doing much in the '50s except plagiarism. If I can't fulfil the law, I'll at least approximate it,' the mayor said.

His decision last Friday drew in one state, one regional and two municipal offices. Word got around that polling places in Vikantice were flying the Alaskan flag instead of the EU flag got around Friday afternoon. When Interior Ministry official Václav Henych learned of the situation, he said 'Jesus Christ, they can't hang that there! I'm calling the the region immediately to get them to do something. Surely they've got one somewhere, or can borrow or rent one.'

Just before two o'clock when the polls were to open, Týden called the regional office in Olomouc, which is responsible for the village. 'The European flag should be hanging there [now]. The municipal office in nearby Jindrichov helped us find one,' said municipal clerk Lubica Koláčková.

Ultimately the EU flag flew at the Vikantice polling place. The flag's older Alaskan sister remained, at the mayor's request.

When asked exactly what would happen if the building hadn't flown the EU flag, Henych said 'It would have no affect on the outcome of the election, but it would be a disgrace.'

In any event, it looks like our [Czech] lawmakers are more Catholic than the Pope [as it were]. In Germany, the EU flag wasn't hung before polling stations. The German election law doesn't require polling stations to display the EU flag; it can fly there, but it isn't required.


At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I may be wrong but I think it's a vexillologist that designs flags, rather than a heraldist. Cool story though.

At 5:15 PM, Blogger Theo said...

Merriam-Webster says a vexillologist is one who studies flags, at least: http://m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=vexillologist&x=15&y=15. The mayor used a Czech word resembling 'heraldists'.

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