Flags of Our Fathers

A tour of Lilongwe's water holes might give the impression that the Great Flag Debate is dead. However, it is not forgotten. Mention the flag and passions burst into flame once more, especially in the hearts and haunts of the satanist-conspiracy theorists, the ex-colonial hangers-on and, of course, that great phalanx of flag-makers that is educating its children in Britain and America on the proceeds of the changes to our flag. The Satanist-Conspiracy Theory It's that "white, full sun" that's got the satanist-conspiracy theorists out on the witch-hunt again. What does it really symbolize - this white, full sun? A history of its associations would not make for pleasant reading. Since the writing of the Book of Psalms, the white, full sun has been associated with "the destruction that wasteth at noonday". To many of the early Christian writers, like (St) John Cassian (c.360 - 435 AD), it was the daemonio meridiano - the midday demon - the demon responsible for what the Greeks called 'acedia' and what is now called 'accidie' in English. Cassian, in chapter 4, book 10 of his De institutus coenobiorum says that "when this [demon] has taken possession of some unhappy soul, it produces dislike of the place . . . and disdain and contempt of the brethren who dwell with him . . . ." and later in the chapter he adds ". . . whenever it [the midday demon] begins in any degree to overcome anyone, it drives him out . . . and makes him . . . a wanderer." (And don't I know it!) Eight hundred years later, (St) Thomas Aquinas associated this noonday demon with "a torpor of the spirit that prevents one from getting down to anything good." If the government wishes to symbolize anything positive with a white, full sun, it is struggling against a 3,000 year Judeo-Christian tradition that associates it with the demon of apathy and indifference, "the condition that inhibits pleasure and prompts rejection of life" as Aquinas so off-puttingly put it. So, according to the satanist-conspiracy theorists - and who isn't a satanistconspiracy theorist nowadays when everything from accident blackspots to the banning of Lucius Banda recordings is ascribed to the wicked machinations of satanophiles - the white, full sun is being imposed on the flag of Malawi by followers of the noonday demon who wish to proclaim their master's ascendancy over the people of Malawi, every time our national flag is raised! Could this be what the President was referring to when he blamed all of his recent failures on the workings of Satan?

The ex-colonial hangers-on are much less so. you can see that the satanist-conspiracy theorists are a pretty serious bunch. they perked up. and burst into song: In tropical climes there are certain times of day When all the citizens retire. None of the three was a Noel Coward. at twelve o'clock. They view it as an opportunity lost. to tear their clothes off and perspire. In Likun' the heat of noon is just what the locals shun. Flag-makers You might expect the flag-makers to be self-interestedly enthusiastic about the new flag. (Repeat) The locals grieve when the English leave their huts. No doubt it wishes its sun to symbolize the same kind of aspiration and achievement we do. the white. They sat down with smiles on their lips and tears in their eyes. . It's one of those rules that the biggest fools obey. At Shire Rock. To them.or something like that. full sun was the sun that never set on the British Empire. (Repeat) Nkotakwota-nkotakwota-nkotakwota-koo. exiled by time from their hearts' desire. downed their MGTs. The English shirt of the English twit merely gets a bit more creased. half of which have rays. and lie down. The tough Chichiri bandit can never understand it. full sun mean to them? When I put that question to a trio of rooinekked Englishmen waiting for goddot knows what in a quiet little snuggery off a large and popular lemonade stand. There are two others with red suns. clearly. industry and services are in .almost nobody has ever heard of. they foam at the mouth and run. I mean . Because they're obviously. It's a long. absolutely nuts -Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. they moan. In Nsanje-town where the sun beats down. to the rage of man or beast. There's nothing new about having a full sun on a flag. or perhaps its just that they drink a more intellectually-incapacitating brand of lemonade. But mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. but each was almost old enough to be. There are six countries with yellow full suns. What does the white. Because the sun is much too sultry and one must avoid its ultry-violet ray -Mooliooli-mooliooli-mooliooli-soo. They put their scotch or rye down. but there is only one other country with a white sun.Ex-colonial Hangers-on Well. and half of which the countries. but not a bit of it. narrow country whose agriculture.

of course. . but want to change it to a less insipid.is the Lao People's Democratic Republic . so I hesitate at his gate.be they ever so humble . they refer to it as an 'emoticon'. and search the skyline for more-inviting flags. turn. the flag can be appropriately 'differenced'. If I want congenial company. full sun . What will make all the difference is what they want to be superimposed upon the full sun: two eyes and a mouth! Yes! What they want in the middle of our flag is a smiley! In their counter-proposal. Yes. as the herald would put it. more popular colour: yellow . up the pole he runs a smiley with the corners of its mouth turned down. my domestic smiley wears a party-hat. we should become a nation with homes . One day. And.) They're happy to keep the full sun. Moreover. I shall share with you a secret. It flew over many of my life's most cherished moments. It's like a promise from God that. Don't imagine that what's making the flag-makers fray at the edges is the thought of sharing a white. for some. Like the Americans. it will set on Bingu’s DPP Government.similar proportion to our own. THIS is the proposal it should have adopted. If my friend has a thundering hangover. You've guessed it! The country that has chosen to symbolize its aspirations and achievements with a white. These smilies would be eminently collectable and fortunes would be made.just like us . slightly smug. no matter how bad the situation gets. Our Ladies of the Legislature would be free to choose the shades of lipstick and eye-shadow their 'mini-me's would flaunt. I could rhapsodize on reasons why I love it. As for me.far from it. They see the current flag as a lost opportunity to leap over the next stages of flag development and land in the age of the digitally-inspired flag. it's a landlocked country that is likely to remain heavily dependent on budgetary support for the foreseeable future. but it's the same thing. What could be easier or more convenient? If the government really wanted to make a difference. We should communicate with each other by a 21st century form of semaphore. full sun with a nation of paddy-paddlers .sporting flagpoles in their front yards. I love it most of all for its ambiguity.a state with a one-party government. the opposition smiley would have a contemptuous sneer. but no Madonna to put it on the map. Macedonia and Rwanda. Enterprising flag-makers could make ever-expanding sets of smilies backed with extra-strong velcro that could be attached to flags with yellow velcro circles on their middles. a wide yawn would be appropriate. By the introduction of this innovation.the colour chosen by countries like Belau (better known as 'Palau'?). the sun also sets. Instead. I miss that ruddy rising sun. while others might feel best represented by pursed lips and a steely glint from between half-closed lids. demeanor. The presidential smiley would have a dignified. (The term they actually use is 'cybervexillologically-inspired'.

.And we shall see: the sun will rise for Malawians once again.

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