A Different Kind of Flag Protest

2016 has been a peculiar year for the people of Zimbabwe. They have embraced a new form of protest and have caused their government a great deal of consternation. This "radical" measure of protest is admirable in its charm and simplicity, which has left Zimbabwe's leaders seemingly baffled. So what are the people of Zimbabwe doing? They are embracing their flag
Tired of corruption, a failing economy, widespread hunger, limits on bank withdrawals, and numerous other problems, the people of Zimbabwe are taking back their flag.  Pastor Evan Mawarire began the movement in April, urging citizens to be prideful in their flag and their nation.  Considering the country's numerous issues, this likely sounds strange, but Mawarire wants citizens to separate their disdain for their leaders with their love for their nation and each other. Since April, Zimbabweans have worn and waved the flag while protesting corruption. Using the hashtag, #thisflag, Zimbabweans have brought the protest to social media platforms, connecting with Zimbabweans the world over and all who are sympathetic toward their plight.

Now Zimbabwe's government officials, led by dictator Robert Mugabe, face the dilemma of cracking down on their own nation's flag and have done just that.  Thus far the government's primary response as been to pass legislation limiting the production, sale, and use of the flag without government permission.  In October, a Chinese businessman was arrested in his Zimbabwe shop for illegally selling the flag.

In the coming months, the people of Zimbabwe will likely be faced with increasing limits on the use of their flag and other crackdowns.  It is unknown if #thisflag will continue to be successful or if the government will succeed in crushing protests.  For now, at least, there is pride.

Thanks for reading! 

For more detail on the birth of the #thisflag movement, read this article from Simon Allison for the Daily Maverick, (Part of the Guardian Africa network)

The Washington Times' David R. Sands also delivers in-depth information on Pastor Evan Mawarire and the movement he started.

Image Source: Zimbabwe's flag is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license by the author, Marc Mongenet

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