"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Real "Red" states, rebellion, flags and freedom-1

This is a complicated story of several countries and flags, two of their descendants. and a heritage of war, communism and independence.
Slovenia's flag today
How else could I summarize the countries  and flags of many readers of this blog, Slovenia and Vietnam, both of which have involved American history and affected American politics? In fact, Slovenia ranks tenth in the number of all time readers, and I, who pride myself on geography, had to look it up on the map, even though I knew where Yugoslavia and The Balkans were.
When I grew up in the Cold War, These were "Red" states--Communists. Slovenia was a member of the country Yugoslavia, headed by the dictator Tito who had fought the Nazis in WWII. But when we were all afraid of communism, Tito was as close as we could get to a good Communist because he maintained independence from the USSR. Still though, Yugoslavia's flag carried that dreaded red star we associated with Russia.
Yugoslavian flag, 1945-1991
The area of Yugoslavia, which means "Southern Slavs," has and long and turbulent history, part of the Balkans where World War I was started when Serbs assassinated the Austrian Duke Ferdinand in 1914 in Sarajevo, fighting Austrian dominance. After the war, the country was formed in 1918 as the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. It became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929.
Invaded by the Axis in 1941, the Partisan Resistance Movement, led by Tito, added the red star to the middle of their flags, including Slovenia's. At the end of the war, the national flag of the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia continued the red star, until the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991.
That again brought a three-year war to the region and involved American, NATO and Russian forces trying to settle conflicts between the new countries of Bosnia / Herzegovina and Croatia, neighbors to Slovenia and Macedonia--all former parts of Yugoslavia. As a matter of fact,  residents of all those countries have been readers of this blog.
 Today, the national flag, designed in 1991, features three equal horizontal bands of white, blue and red, with the Slovenian coat of arms in the upper hoist side of the flag centred in the white and blue bands. The coat of arms is a shield with the image of Mount Triglav, Slovenia's highest peak, in white against a blue background at the center; beneath it are two wavy blue lines for the Adriatic sea and local rivers, and above it are three six-pointed golden stars arranged in an inverted triangle which are taken from the coat of arms of a great Slovenian dynastic house of the late 14th and early 15th centuries.
The flag's colors come from a medieval coat of arms. The existing tricolor dates from 1894 in the Spring of Nations, designed by a group of students in the capital of Ljubljana.
I told you it was complicated...flags have such interesting stories matching those of their countries.  Next, Vietnam.

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