Friday, 24 July 2009

Burundi - Current

The flag of Burundi was adopted in 1967.[1] It consists of a white saltire of a width of 1/8th the hoist over a field of green and red. The red forming the upper and lower quarters and green the hoist and fly quarters. The centre of the flag is defaced with a white disc of a diameter of 3/5th the hoist. The white disc is charged with three, six pointed stars in red with a narrow green fimbriation. The stars form a fictive equilateral triangle inscribed in a fictive circle. The circle has the same centre as the disc. The triangle basis is parallel to the length of the flag.[2][3] The ratio of the flag is 3:5.[5] The colours of the flag are Pantone Red 186c and green 361c.[6]

The symbolism of the Burundi flag is given as follows The red is said to stand for the struggle for independence, the white for peace[7] or purity[8] and the green for the peoples belief in future development[7] or hope.[8] The three stars in the centre of the flag officially refer to the three words in the national motto “Unité, Travail, Progrès” (“Unity, Work, Progress”). The three stars are also said to represent the three ethnic groups who live in Burundi: the Hutu, Tutsi and the Twa.[9][10]

There is controversy surrounding the symbolism of the stars on the Burundi flag. Due to their symbolism of the ethnic groups and the tensions that persist between them in this area of Africa, there has been a move to remove the stars from the flag of Burundi.[11] The stars are used by Tutsi extremists to back up their claim that the Tutsis are descendants of ancient Jews and linked to the ancient Kushit state ruled by the Queen of Saba.[12] Whitney Smith also says that there is a possibility of the current flag being linked to the old Sabena flag, however he states that there is no proof of this fact.[13]

[1] Stuart Notholt, Flags of the World,
[2] Željko Heimer, Flags of the World,
[3] Flag in Constitution from Burundi Government Site in French from English translation with notes
by Ivan Sache, Flags of the World,
[4] Presidential Decree, Article One, Christopher Southworth, Flags of the World,
[5] Jaume Ollé, Flags of the World,
[6] Colour approximations, Album des pavillons nationaux et des marques distinctive, S.H.O.M. (Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine), Brest, France, 2000.
[7] Whitney Smith, Flag lore of all nations, Millbrook Press, 2002.
[8] Flag of Burundi, Wikipedia,
[9] Stuart Notholt, Flags of the World,
[11] Grands-Lacs Confidentiel,
[12] An "explanation" of the Jewish origin of the Tutsis, by Mathias Niyonzima,
[13] Whitney Smith, Flags and Arms across the World, McGraw-Hill Book Company (UK) Ltd, Maidenhead , UK, 1980.
[fig1] - Flag of Burundi, Mark Sensen and António Martins, Flags of the World,
[fig2] - Current Construction Sheet, Željko Heimer,

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