Shooting down the flag
The BBC reports today: Mozambique's parliament has rejected an opposition attempt to get the image of a gun removed from the national flag.
The gun represents the AK47 that was used in the wars of independence against the Portuguese after which a Marxist regime was installed. That was dumped years ago and the 1990 constitution brought in a multi-party, market-orientated government. But, to this day, relics of the communist past remain which are quite quaint in their way. Many of the main streets in Maputo, the capital, are named after leading lights in communist history, many of them almost forgotten: Vladimir Lenin, Karl Marx, Engels, Ho Chi Minh, Kim Il Sung, Julius Nyerere, Salvadore Allende, Ho Chi Minh, Mao Ze Dong, etc.
As far as I know, there is no talk of renaming these streets. Keeping streets named after African liberation heroes (eg Julius Nyerere) may make sense but the foreign communist names make no sense at all.
And thus endeth today's history and geography lesson.
Update: More Information about the Mozambiquan flag
Since one of my readers has requested more information about the flag, I found some more information here:
Mozambique Flag Meaning:
The red stripe represents Mozambique's struggle for independence. The green symbolizes the land. The black represents the African continent and yellow stands for the mineral wealth of the nation. The yellow star represents the socialist beliefs of the country. The book represents education and the hoe represents the peasants and agriculture. The rifle represents the nation's determination to defend its freedom.
Mozambique Flag History:
The Mozambique flag was adopted on May 1, 1983. Mozambique gained independence from Portugal on June 25, 1975. The current Mozambique flag is based on the flag of Frelimo (the Mozambique Liberation Front), the organization which led the campaign for independence. The Frelimo flag was virtually the same as the current Mozambique flag but without the emblem on it. It was used briefly as the transitional flag when the leader of Frelimo became the first president of an independent Mozambique in 1975.
Interesting Mozambique Flag Facts:
The flag of Mozambique is the only one in the world to feature a rifle, as it has an AK47 on it.
A contest was held to design a new flag of Mozambique in September 1999 and 119 entries were received. A winner was picked, but a new Mozambique flag has never materialized.
In another article found here, there is mention of the fact that some people wanted to change the yellow star owing to its association with communism. "If Mozambique's single star were to symbolize Communism, Joaquim Chissano, the nation's president for 19 years, said, the Stars and Stripes would place the United States among the world's most leftist nations." He seems to ignore the fact that in flag symbolism, there is a vast difference between stars of different colours! Anyhow, it seems that the star is no longer an issue so it seems bound to remain in the new flag whenever it finally gets unveiled.