Will Finno — Ugrians get their own flag with the help of (social) media?

Posted: 2012/09/06 in Uncategorized

Will Finno-Ugrians get their own flag with the help of (social) media?

Speech in the media section of the 6th Finno -Ugric World Congress, Hungary, Siófok 2012

 Rein Sikk, Senior Editor of Eesti Päevaleht weekly: rein.sikk@eesti.ee +3725012487

There are 100 inhabitants in the smallest Estonian municipality- Piirissaare. They have their own flag, a common symbol. There are 25 million people in the Finno-Ugric world, but we don’t yet share a flag, a common symbol. The topic of my presentation is – how the Finno-Ugric people could get a flag of their own with the help of media. A flag with a symbol you can see on my T-shirt.

Let’s admit: the Finno-Ugric media has made a great contribution to keeping alive the traditions, language, common values of our peoples. But we lack a major goal, something to focus all our attention and efforts on. Couldn’t it be our common flag, the flag of the Finno-Ugric world?

In 2010 I wrote an article in the Eesti Päevaleht daily – „Finno-Ugrians may get their own flag“. It read as follows “The potential Finno-Ugric flag has been designed by a Polish doctoral student Szymon Pawlas, who studies Finno-Ugric languages in Warsaw University and can speak Hungarian, Finnish and Udmurt languages. The sketch he has uploaded on the internet unites the symbols and the colors of Estonian, Hungarian, Finnish and Udmurt flags. There are also hints to some other Finno-Ugric flags. Pawlas, who has also designed several emblems and coats of arms explains that it is not easy to find common symbols. However, he has chosen the octagon pattern, which occurs both in the flags and folklore of Finno-Ugric peoples.“

What happened after publishing the article reminded me of the birth of the Estonian flag. In 1881 blue, black and white were declared the colors of a student corporation. Three years later the flag was inaugurated in church. But it didn’t only remain the flag of students – people started using it on holidays and protest marches – in order to identify themselves. More and more people became familiar with it and 25 years later this blue-black-and-white flag became the official flag of Estonia.

So – one of the preconditions of the birth of an official flag is its real use and acceptance by real people. The more the better. And that is exactly what happened with the potential Finno-Ugric flag in the social media.

First an internet site of Mari people saw and published my article, then other sites of Komi, Udmurt, Seto and other Finno-Ugric peoples followed. The flag was also presented in an extremely popular Russian site VKontakte. Eventually the flag was published in a net-based encyclopedia, which introduces different symbols of Finno-Ugric peoples, living in Russia. Today we can see the design on at least 100 internet sites. And last but not least — as the FB page of Buranovskie Babushki has 5000 fans allover the world, the flag design spread in a vast area from America to Russia. Today lots of Finno-Ugric internet users identify themselves with this flag. In conclusion — it sparks emotions, people like it. By now the designer has launched a special flag-site, where anybody can download the flag and use it on their own sites, documents, T-shirts, souvenirs, also as a real flag. To show everyone – I am a Finno — Ugrian, we have our business to attend. I have a feeling that we cannot change the course of this river any more.

And what would be the task of journalists now? Let us make sure the flag topic remains under discussion, let us make ourselves more visible! Why not start today, in our congress reviews. Let us make sure the design finds more use, is introduced more often, wherever possible. I believe that this would be a major common goal for the following 4 years up to the next congress. And then, in the next congress we have no other option but to declare: the common flag of the Finno-Ugric world is here to stay. And only then can we proudly say: “ We did it! The Finno-Ugric world has got its own flag!“

More information here: http://www.uflag.org/

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