Patrik Lindenfors: The Swedish flag is a problematic symbol

The Swedish flag is a clear example of how home-blind you can become. If I had a choice, as a secularized Swede I would have liked to see a different symbol than the cross for our beautiful country, writes Patrik Lindenfors, researcher at the Institute for Future Studies and board member of the Humanists.

Wikipedia illustrates "Swedish operation in Afghanistan" with a picture of a heavily armed Swedish soldier on top of a military vehicle. Behind him swings something that in this context can very well be interpreted as a crusade flag.

The Swedish flag is a clear example of how home-blind you can become for your own symbols. While it is quite probable that many Afghans directly associate the flag with Christianity, there are probably very few Swedes who particularly often reflect on the religious connection.

But how would you have reacted if it was driving military vehicles with Saudi Arabian flags on Swedish roads? (The Saudi Arabian flag contains the Muslim creed.) The Swedish flag is fully comparable to Saudi Arabia's - both are religious flags that serve as symbols of their countries.

Although there is room for a ban on both eating seafood and dressing in fabrics of different yarns in the Bible, strangely enough there is no ban on slavery. And the conflict over North American slavery took place more than 1800 (one thousand eight hundred!) Years after Jesus. If such time perspectives are needed, then we will not yet have the opportunity to determine whether Nazism and Communism are good or bad ideologies.
If I had a choice, I, as a secularized Swede, would have liked to see a different symbol than the cross for our beautiful country.
If I had a choice, I, as a secularized Swede, would have liked to see a different symbol than the cross for our beautiful country. There are inclusion arguments - most in Sweden are no longer professing Christians, many have no religion at all and others have a different religious affiliation.

There are historical arguments: Christianity is not the historical heritage that has been most positive for the country when the Christian government set out to eradicate the religions of origin. There are symbolic arguments - should we not have a unifying symbol for the country instead? There are political arguments - now that we are in a phase where we are re-evaluating historical symbols, maybe it would also be time to really think through the Swedish symbolic language?

This is how you can continue. Against every argument is simply the fact that few people want to replace the Swedish flag. The design of the flag may also seem unimportant (although symbolic issues are undeniably important for those who overturn statues). But it is also about home blindness. Our history has become our present and the symbols are engraved in the bedrock. We will probably have to fly the Swedish flag for a long time yet.

Source: Göteborgs-Posten
Patrik Lindenfors: The Swedish flag is a problematic symbol Patrik Lindenfors: The Swedish flag is a problematic symbol Reviewed by PostDiscus on July 19, 2020 Rating: 5

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