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Posted by Philip on 12 September 2015, 11:14 am in , , , , , ,

Flags, refugees and the bigger question of borders

It's been frustrating watching both the flag and Hungarian refugee debates play out simultaneously in the media over the past couple of weeks. Separately they are issues that create division over varying opinions but, together, both issues raise a far more complex and, in my opinion, important question:

Why, in a hyper-globalised and -connected world, do we continue to put so much emphasis on the notions of nations and borders?

I really couldn't give a toss about NZ's flag — I don't particularly like the current one but then, I don't like flags in general. I think they are ridiculous symbols of patriarchy and patriotism, created in military or naval contexts, and their use was extended beyond these contexts in the 18th century due to a rise in nationalism.

I also don't know how many refugees NZ should take — rather, I don't think there should be a number. But the mere fact, that people are running from their countries and being refused entry into others, demonstrates a larger international malaise around nationalism and border control.

The answer isn't simple but a new conversation is sorely needed. In the age of free electronic access to any website in any country in the  world via the Internet, it seems obvious that the denial of physical access needs reviewing.

Add to this the history of changing borders of European countries over the last 6000 years, as shown in this video, it makes you wonder — why all the fuss about where we come from and what flag we fly?

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